The recently elected Portuguese Prime Minister announced an Action Plan for Migration on June 3, 2024, which is set to transform Portugal’s immigration framework. Luis Montenegro stated, “Portugal will not have the doors wide open but it will not have them closed either,” indicating enhanced migrant control, improved application analysis, and the elimination of some existing mechanisms.

This Action Plan indicates the Government’s serious approach to addressing growing complaints in four key areas:

  • Immigration Regulation
  • Attracting Foreign Talent
  • Immigrant Integration
  • Institutional Reorganization

The Government acknowledged previous policy errors and introduced 41 concrete measures to address the current situation. For the complete list of measures, refer to List of the New Immigration Measures for Portugal in 2024.

Creation of a New Social Investor Visa

passportA notable change involves the Portugal Golden Visa (ARI) introducing the New Residence Permit for Solidarity Investment, also known as the Social Golden Visa. This initiative aims to channel private capital into social investment for immigrant integration projects. This includes investments in reception infrastructure, integration projects, and support for vulnerable immigrants.

The Government views this residence-by-investment program as a tool for the Migration Plan and the “Build Portugal” Plan, suggesting a new Golden Visa option through investment in affordable housing projects.

While specifics and timings of this new Golden Visa option are speculative, it seems promising yet potentially challenging in terms of implementation and attracting significant investment, similar to the current Golden Visa cultural investment option.

AIMA Initiatives to Reduce Backlog

The Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA) is set to reinforce its human and technological resources, although specific details are yet to be announced.

To specifically address the backlog, AIMA has announced the creation of a dedicated mission structure. This initiative involves seeking assistance from external resources solely for this purpose. An agreement with the Bar Association has already been established to involve lawyers in assisting AIMA, but there has been no progress on this front yet.

Furthermore, AIMA plans to implement efficiency targets and incentives for its employees to enhance overall productivity.

These initiatives were confirmed by the minister during his speech at the OIM event on June 4, 2024.

GCS Insights on the New Immigration Measures

The main message is that, while Portugal needs immigration, the government needs to handle it more efficiently. The abovementioned initiatives are valuable because they demonstrate several significant things and bring new information that deserves our reflection and attention.

On one hand, it is important to highlight that the new Executive, who has been in office for just two months, presented a well-thought-out and robust plan focused, across the board, on migration, in its various aspects. It also demonstrates enormous concern about this topic, one of the first to be addressed by the Government in such an in-depth way and with this sense of urgency.

In other words, it shows that the Portuguese Government understood the gravity of the situation, and the urgency of the reaction and endorsed sufficient importance to the issue.

Overall, the migration plan appears to be lucid and achievable. We will monitor its development and execution and participate in this process as agents of change.