Following the press conference held on February 16th, 2023, the Government has shared the preliminary purpose for the amendment to the Immigration Law.
The mentioned document is available here (in Portuguese): https://www.consultalex.gov.pt/ConsultaPublica_Detail.aspx?Consulta_Id=290, and the process is open for public discussion until March 13th, 2023. At the moment, and as per public records, it is possible to verify that there were over 800 participations already submitted.
The proposal presented is in line with the presentation made by the government on February 16th, and no new information or measures were introduced. That being said, it is expected that the draft will undergo relevant changes before being presented to the parliament since not only the document itself is facing some calls of being unconstitutional but also public participation has been high regarding this topic.
Following the end of the public consultation phase, a Council of Ministers will take place and the final draft will be presented to the public and to the Parliament expectably on March 16th, following which it will be voted in the general session of the Parliament. After that, if approved, the proposal will be discussed by a separate commission, which will propose a final draft. The final version of the document will then come back to the Parliament for general approval.
The final step of the process, if approved by the Parliament, will be sending the proposed amendment to the President of the Republic. After the reception of the petition one of three scenarios may take place:
i) Direct ratification and in this case, the proposal will come into force on the date set forth in the proposal. Regarding this topic, it is possible that a transition period may be agreed;
ii) The President of the Republic does not accept the proposal as it is, and returns it to the Parliament for revision; or
iii) The President of the Republic does not issue an opinion on the document but requests its evaluation by the Constitutional Court.
From IAS’s side, we strongly believe that the relevant constitutional principles behind the Portuguese legislative regime will be upheld here and that a transition period that safeguards ongoing processes and investments will be implemented, should any material amendments to the law be included in the final draft.
We will continue to monitor the situation as closely as possible, keeping investors and partners informed of any developments while remaining available for any clarifications needed.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.