Since the entry into force of the new legal regime for attracting talent, the Portuguese have lost their unique status when applying for residence in Macau. The problem is more serious than it appears because, most likely, it is not limited to the Portuguese community, but to everyone, including Chinese nationals, who also enjoyed a special regime.
It turns out that, without repealing twenty-year-old administrative regulations, their omission in the new law led the authorities to refuse the request for “specialized technical functions”. Macau reduced its specialized labor needs to a highly qualified professional niche, disregarding the complexity of the economic ecosystem it wants to transition to – a diversified one without a gaming monopoly. I think it’s good that Macau establishes a talent attraction program that focuses on emerging industries, but isn’t it underestimating the contribution that qualified professionals outside these areas can have in the diversification movement?
From a Portuguese perspective, if there is indeed a purposeful movement to make residence more difficult, we are facing an inevitable reduction of the community and a diverse cultural environment. It is also a contradiction to the political discourse that wants greater rapprochement with Lusofonia – and that needs it to reinforce its distinct character and autonomy. The community has always been fluctuating and making it difficult for new contingents to arrive, renewal is not possible. I remind the authorities that allowing Portuguese residents to reside only as a “family member” or “previous connection to the Macao SAR” aborts the possibility of people born in Portugal having a BIR in the medium to long term.
From a holistic point of view, we are creating a professional gap, as either the requirements that Macau is looking for are met on the CV, or it is not possible to obtain residency. Without residency, the alternative route – blue card – is very unattractive, so talents will naturally look for other places.
*Executive Director of PLATAFORMA