CSF / QEC – Common Strategic Framework 2014 - 2020

The National Strategic Reference Framework (NSRF/QREN – in Portuguese) is the framework for the implementation of the Community’s economic and social cohesion in Portugal in the period 2007-2013.

The NSRF has as a great strategic objective the qualification of Portuguese people, valuing the knowledge, the science, the technology and the innovation, as well as the promotion of high and sustained levels of economic, socio-cultural and territorial qualified development within a framework of equal opportunities, and the increase of efficiency and quality of public institutions.

The pursuit of this great strategic objective is ensured by the implementation of three major Thematic Operational Programmes:

  • Human Potential Thematic Operational Programme;
    This Programme aims the promotion of school and professional qualifications among the Portuguese population and fostering employment and social inclusion, alongside the conditions for the valorisation of gender equality and full citizenship.

    Main areas of intervention: Initial Qualification; Adaptability and Lifelong Learning; Professional Development Management; Advanced Training for Competitiveness; Entrepreneurship Support and Transition to Working Life; Citizenship, Inclusion and Social Development; Promotion of Gender Equality.

  • Competitive Factors Thematic Operational Programme;
    This Programme includes measures aimed at encouraging training in the manufacturing sector through innovation, technological development, and incentives for entrepreneurship, as well as improving the various components of commercial enterprise, with an emphasis on lowering public costs.

    Intervention areas: Incentives for the production of knowledge and technological development; Incentives for innovation and renewal of the business model and the pattern of specialization; Financial engineering instruments for innovation funding and risk-sharing; Integrated interventions to reduce public administrative costs; Collective business development actions; Incentives for the development of the information society, supporting networks and infrastructure for regional competitiveness; Integrated action for the economic valorisation of the least competitive territories.

  • Territorial Enhancement Thematic Operational Programme.
    This Agenda seeks to enhance the attractiveness of the country and its regions and sub-regions with regard to investment and living conditions, embraces infrastructure measures and the provision of essential facilities for the qualification of the territories and the strengthening of economic, social and territorial cohesion.

    Intervention areas: Strengthening of international connectivity, accessibilities and mobility; Protection and valorisation of the environment; Urban policy; Networks of infrastructure and facilities aimed at territorial and social cohesion.

The implementation of the NSRF is made possible by the deployment of about 21.5 thousand M €, according to three main guidelines:

  • Incentive scheme for HR qualification
    Representing approximately 37% of all Structural Funds,-amounting to more than 6 billion Euros.

  • Incentive scheme for the sustainable growth of the Portuguese Economy
    With a provision of more than 5 billion Euros, co-financed by the EFRD, that now represent 65% of this Structural Fund.

  • Incentive scheme for the regional Thematic Operational Programmes of the Continent.

Now it represents 55% of the entire EFRD to be mobilised in the mainland, noting that the financial provisions of the Regional POs of Convergence regions in the mainland (North, Centre and Alentejo) will increase 10% in real terms in relation to the equivalent amount of QCA III.

> The new CSF

The new proposals of the Common Strategic Framework for 2014-2020 are meant to strengthen the strategic dimension of the policy and ensure that the community investment is channelled to the European long-term objectives, i.e., growth and employment.

Through partnership contracts agreed with the Commission, the Member States commit to focus the investment priorities on these objectives. In order to increase the coherence of EU action, this package also features a proposal for harmonization of rules of the various funds, including the rural and maritime development and the fisheries.

This legislative package includes:

A regulation that creates a framework with common provisions for the management of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF), the Cohesion Fund, the European agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD) and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF). This regulation will enable a better articulation of the funds, so that the EU action has a stronger impact;

Three specific regulations on the ERDF, the ESF and the Cohesion Fund;

Two regulations on the European Territorial Cooperation objective and the European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation (EGTC);

Two regulations on the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) and the Programme for Social Change and Innovation;

A communication on the European Union Solidarity Fund (EUSF).

> Golden residence permit for investment activity

New legal provisions open up the possibility of applying for a residence permit for pursuing investment activities to those who have entered the country regularly (v.g. holders of valid Schengen Visas, or beneficiaries of Visa exemption), by transferring capital, creating jobs or acquiring real estate.

The holders of Golden Residence Permit for Investment Activity have the right to family regrouping, and may gain access to a permanent residence permit, as well as to Portuguese citizenship in accordance to the current legal provisions.

Definition
“Investment Activity” is any activity involving citizens, either individually or through a company conducting, at least, one of the following operations in national territory for a minimum period of five years:

  • i) Capital transfer with a value equal to or above 1 million Euros;

  • ii) Creation of, at least, 10 job positions;

  • iii) Acquisition of real estate with a value equal to or above 500 thousand Euros.

Golden residence permit for investment activity
Residence permit shall be granted for performing investment activities to third State citizens who, cumulatively:

  • a) Fulfil the general conditions laid down by Article 77, with the exception of subparagraph a), paragraph 1;

  • b) Hold a valid Schengen visa;

  • c) Legalize their permanence in Portugal within 90 days of their first entry into national territory;

  • d) Fulfil the conditions laid down by subparagraph d), paragraph 3.

2 - Residence permit shall be renewed for a period of two years pursuant to this Act, provided the requirements laid down in sub-paragraph d), Article 3 remain valid. 3 - The conditions for applying the special framework pursuant to this Article, specifically with regards minimum quantitative requirements, minimum periods of permanence, and means of evidence, shall be laid down by Order of the members of the government in charge of Foreign Affairs and Internal Affairs.

Residence permit with the excuse of Residence Visa

1 — Third State Citizens who provide evidence of having investment activities as previously defined do not need a Residence VISA in order to obtain a temporary residence permit.

> Local Support

In addition to the European and National incentives already referred to, there is the support provided by the local authorities of the Douro region. Acting through the legal, fiscal and administrative instruments, the Town halls can create preferential conditions for the attraction and settlement of external investment into their territory. In particular, local authorities have the competence to act in the following areas:

Tax incentives – The town halls have management capabilities and the power of decision on the local elements of taxation, and may reduce or even suspend for varying periods of time the collection of this portion of taxes;

Tax reduction and Municipal Surtax – Local authorities have jurisdiction over fees and municipal surtaxes that apply to businesses with a presence on their territory and may decide their reduction to attract new investments;

Easy Licensing – Many of the infrastructures necessary for the realization of new investments depend on local authorities. Accordingly, there is the possibility of considering simplified licensing models for new projects to implement in the region;

Incentive scheme for settlement – In addition to all the support already referred to, the local authorities have the capacity to create incentive packages designed specifically to respond to the particular needs of each investment.