Sponsored Feature

Portugal’s NHR Regime is Closed, But HQA Visa Holders Still Qualify for The Same Low Tax Rates

Empowered Startups
IMI Official Partner

Portugal’s desirable climate, reputation for safety, and low cost of living have long made it an attractive option for transnationals who are looking to relocate or are simply seeking residency in the European Union. Until recently, the country’s Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) tax regime had made it even more appealing financially, but the NHR ended as 2024 began. 

What many people don’t realize is that there are specific categories of immigration that still qualify for the same tax benefits the NHR offers. Empowered Startups’ HQA Visa Program is one of the only programs that qualify for these tax advantages, setting it even further apart from other residency programs for accomplished businesspeople. 

What are the tax benefits?

Under the new tax regulations, highly qualified individuals in eligible categories are charged a flat tax of 20% on any income earned in Portugal for 10 years. All participants in the HQA Visa Program qualify for this incentive. By comparison, that rate is much lower than the 28% tax assessed to individuals realizing passive income in Portugal or the country’s standard progressive tax protocol, which escalates tax rates to as high as 48% based on income. 

In addition to the domestic tax advantages, eligible individuals are not taxed on foreign-earned income during that same 10-year period. This is particularly interesting for those who qualify for the HQA Visa Program since the vast majority of their earnings almost assuredly will be derived outside of Portugal.

Why do participants in the HQA Visa Program qualify?

Portugal is committed to investing in science, innovation, and entrepreneurship and has extended the aforementioned tax benefits to individuals who engage in such endeavors. Transnationals who choose the HQA Visa Program qualify in all of these categories by the very nature of the program itself. Every participant in the HQA Visa Program launches a start-up venture in Portugal, and Empowered Startups pairs each entrepreneur with the appropriate research project at a Portuguese university or polytechnic. 

It’s important to note that incoming businesspeople do not need to have a specific innovation or area of science in mind when they enter the program. Though some successful applicants are domain experts in the start-ups they choose to launch, most entrepreneurs who enter the program are not specialists in the specific subject matters their start-ups will be based on. 

Empowered Startups is on the pulse of the country’s R&D ecosystem, having formed partnerships with more than a dozen universities and polytechnics in Portugal, each of which is engaged in a variety of innovative research endeavors. 

Empowered marries the business acumen of successful HQA Visa applicants with agreed-upon projects at partner institutions in Portugal, creating a mutually beneficial collaboration to commercialize the innovation. 

Why work with Empowered Startups? 

Empowered is the only government-endorsed delivery partner of the HQA Visa Program and continues to work closely with the Portuguese government on refining an already successful program. 

Multiple team members from Empowered recently showcased case studies from the HQA Visa Program and participated in a public discussion at the University of Algarve aimed at highlighting best practices in Talent Immigration. Empowered’s HQA Visa Program was recognized for excellence by everyone in attendance, including former Secretary of State for Tax Affairs Carlos Lobo, who was instrumental in designing and implementing the NHR, and Carlos Zorrinho, a current Member of the European Parliament representing Portugal. 

Empowered has created experienced operational and legal teams in Portugal, meaning the various needs of HQA clients can be addressed by skilled professionals with working knowledge of the country’s systems and regulations. From guidance on project development to facilitating connections with higher education institutions to dedicated immigration lawyers, Empowered has an extensive collection of resources at the ready to ensure effective and efficient processes throughout the HQA Visa Program.  

Acceptance into the program includes a three-year incubation within Empowered Startups’ industry-leading business incubator, all residency permit processes for the principal applicant, including renewal after two years, and access to Empowered’s award-winning online platform.

Apply for the HQA Visa Program today.