After the day's regular weekly cabinet meeting the minister for internal administration, Constança Urbano de Sousa, unveiled a bill to alter the residence permit for investment (ARI), as it is officially know, "in eight fundamental aspects", including "three alterations to the regime ... to cover three types of investment that will affect above all small and medium-sized companies".

The minister cited "the need to inject capital and foster investment in our small and medium-size companies - which are not investments of a very large nature - but which could be decisive not only for the economic recovery of small and medium-sized companies, but also to keep them going and create new ones, which are the engine of our economy," she said.

According to Urbano de Sousa, the idea is that the permits are from now on to be granted to foreigners who invest "three hundred and fifty thousand euros to create companies in Portugal or to inject capital in Portuguese companies so long as they create or maintain give permanent jobs".

In addition, an "investment of two hundred thousand euros in Portuguese companies that are in a Recovery or Revitalisation Plan " or of "three hundred and fifty thousand euros in funds aimed at injecting capital into Portuguese companies" are other foreign investments that are eligible for the 'golden visas'.

"The government is perfectly aware that ninety nine per cent of the investment that we have attracted under this programme of resident permits for investment is channelled only into the acquisition of property," she said.

The same law also contains three transpositions of European Union directives, introducing legal regulations for the entry and residence of seasonal workers, for the transfer of emigrant workers within a company or within a group of companies and the revision of the rules governing the residence of students, researchers, volunteers and interns.

The government also intends to introduce special rules for company directors, but also for employees of companies based in European countries that are moved to Portugal.