Portugal shuts down the Expression of Interest visa route for migrants

The Portuguese Government has approved the revocation of the “expression of interest” route enabling non-EU foreign nationals to travel to Portugal under a tourist visa, obtain employment and then submit an “expression of interest” (“Manifestaҫao do interesse”) to obtain a residency permit. The Decree Law 37-A/2024, of 3 June, applies to this decision.

The recently elected Prime Minister, Luz Meontengegro’s stated aim is to “…put an end to…excessive abuse of hospitality by migrants…”. The move is believed to be driven by the large numbers of applicants and the resulting backlog waiting for approval. 

Additionally, in part, it addresses the impact on the current housing crisis evident in some parts of Portugal as the volume of migrants accessing the “expression of interest” visa route and the speed and ease with which they are able to live in Portugal has a significant impact.

In a previous attempt to limit foreign nationals from taking up too large a share of the available residential real estate, the highly popular Golden Visa was amended to remove the purchase of real estate as an acceptable form of investment, leaving commercial investment as the only type of investment that grants the opportunity to apply for a Golden Visas. Addressing the issue of migration requires a comprehensive approach involving policy reforms and balanced regulation to ensure sustainable development that benefits both locals and the broader economy.Rute Lourenco, Associate at Giambrone & Partners

Rute Lourenço, an Associate, observed “on-going applications can continue unhindered, provided the applicant can fulfil the requirements demanded by law.” Rute further commented “the new Decree also provides for The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (Comunidade dos Países dc#e Língua Portuguesa) CPLP visa to convert to Community visa relating to Community of the Portuguese speaking countries Brazil, Angola, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, Mozambique, Portugal, Sao Tome and Principe, and Timor-Leste, created at the Lisbon Constitutive Summit in 1996”.

Following the new changes all applications for visas by non-EU foreign nationals must now be made in their home country through the appropriate Consulate before you move to Portugal. Once the backlog, believed to be up to 400,000 applications, is cleared it will be noticeably faster to obtain a visa from the time of application. However, you will not be able go to Portugal on any other visa than a tourist visa. If you travel to Portugal as a tourist with the objective of obtaining work and if you do receive a job offer you must return to your country of origin and make an application for the appropriate visas and permits through the Portuguese Consulate before you can return to Portugal to take up the job offer. The new changes do not affect the application for any other visas.

Addressing this issue requires a comprehensive approach involving policy reforms and balanced regulation to ensure sustainable model that benefits the broader economy. Efforts to impose stricter controls on migrants, foreign investment and short-term rentals face significant political and economic hurdles. The government must balance attracting foreign workers, which has economic benefits, with protecting job opportunities and the housing needs of local residents.

Portugal has enacted some visa changes in order to strengthen support for the population and limit the negative impact of migration in some quarters. Giambrone & Partners immigration lawyers are highly competent and very experienced at advising and managing clients’ visa applications and will guide applicants in all aspects of their applications to ensure success.

Rute Lourenço specialises in several areas such as immigration; including nationality applications and an extensive range of visas including those that are associated with real estate purchase where her considerable real estate experience is also utilised. Her expertise extends in more than one direction as Rute additionally provides valuable guidance and insight in corporate and commercial non-contentious matters and has extensive experience in drafting complex cross-border contracts, providing protective clauses that offer the maximum safeguards for our clients. 

If you would like to know more about how to apply for a visa to travel and reside in Portugal please contact Rute's clerk Bruno Diniz on BD@giambronelaw.com or please click here.