In response to the Directive on services in the internal market , Portugal has taken the following steps:
- publication of the law transposing this Directive;
- creation of a one-stop shop for service-providers to obtain authorisation in order to access and engage in activities (part of the Business Gateway);
- harmonisation of national legislation with the new Directive, including the implementation of ‘Zero Licensing ’, which is intended to cut red tape by eliminating licences, authorisations, validations, authentications, certifications, documents issued as a result of prior notifications subject to a time-limit, registrations and other permissive acts, and replacing these with enhanced inspection;
- publication of lists of services covered by the Services Directive, and implementation of an electronic information exchange system between the competent authorities of the Member States. The Directorate-General for Economic Activities (DGAE) is responsible for implementing the objectives of the Services Directive in Portugal. Its website describes the measures taken.
Types of service
Economic operators are categorised by the Decree-Law defining business activities (wholesale, retail and similar) and laying down the basic conditions for accessing such activities.
The Constitution of the Portuguese Republic and the Consumer Protection Law give consumers a series of rights with regard to protection of health and safety, quality of goods and services, protection of economic interests, prevention and compensation of damage, consumer training and education, consumer information, representation and consultation, legal protection, and accessible and prompt justice.
Consumer issues affect everyone, and everything that can be bought and sold. As a result, there is extensive general and sectoral legislation to guarantee consumer protection.
NETemprego is an on-line employment service, managed by the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (IFEP), which is totally free of charge and available 24 hours a day.
This platform allows businesses to publish their recruitment needs (vacancies) on-line, view CVs, use the automatic CV manager so that they are sent an e-mail whenever a CV meets their selected search criteria, directly contact candidates who have posted a CV, access information on employment support (non-profit enterprises and bodies), and access the respective forms.
All goods suppliers and service-providers who have fixed or permanent establishments and who have contact with the public are required to keep a complaints register.
Anyone who considers that their rights have been infringed can record the situation in the Complaints Register. Making a complaint is one way of protecting consumer rights. This register informs the competent bodies about consumer problems and enables economic operators to adapt their offer to the needs expressed by their customers.
‘Points of Single Contact’
The Business Centres offer a comprehensive service to business operators wanting to set up, alter, convert or close their business.
At these centres, business operators can use the ‘On-the-Spot Company ’ service or the ‘On-line Certificate Request ’ service, as well as other services such as information on business legislation and on setting up your own business, and other services associated with business life.
The On-Line Company system allows various business-related services to be provided wholly over the Internet, such as: company formation, On-the-Spot Trade Mark, company name request, On-line Certificate request and viewing, Business Card/Company Card request, viewing of accounts submission status, and various trade registrations.
Most types of company can be formed in this way, i.e. private limited companies, public limited companies and civil-law commercial partnerships.
The Directorate-General for Economic Activities (DGAE) is the certification body responsible for issuing Vocational Training Certificates (CAP) for business qualifications and experience, and also for approving the respective vocational training courses.
The DGAE website also indicates which bodies are involved in vocational training in specific areas of trade and services, their main areas of training and their respective contact details.
Vocational training and certification in the areas of trade and services are governed by a range of legislation, legal rules on vocational certification, and general conditions for the issue of training and skills certificates.
Work permit applications
An application for a Residence Certificate/Card for the EU/EEA/Switzerland can be made by European Union (EU) citizens who move to or live in Portugal, and also their family members who accompany or join them, by nationals of countries belonging to the European Economic Area and Switzerland and their family members, and by family members of nationals of countries belonging to the European Economic Area and Switzerland, regardless of their nationality. The national measures contained in the Law on the legal rules for the entry, residence, exit and removal of foreign nationals from the national territory apply as amended.
EU citizens who remain within the national territory for more than three months must register in order to formalise their right of residence – Certificate of Registration – within 30 days of the end of the first three months spent within the national territory.