In search of a solution to the lack of skilled labor, which is desperately needed to promote the diversification of the economy’s development, Macao is preparing to innovate the Investors, Managerial Personnel, Technical and Professional Qualification Holders Temporary Residency Scheme foreseen in the Administrative Regulation No. 3/2005, which has been in existence for almost 20 years.
In fact, although we have only seen a real highlight on this matter in recent years, Macao’s concern with increasing the qualification and diversification of the local workforce has been a long-standing concern.
The development of the Greater Bay Area, Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao, due to the various development opportunities it has brought and will bring to Macao, has undoubtedly brought a greater focus on this reality that has always been so present in the concerns of the members of the Macao SAR Government.
Under the “Talent Acquisition” scheme, the Legal Regime for Attracting Qualified Professionals draft bill, discussed and approved in general on August 11, 2022, had an alternative version presented by the Government on April 17, 2023, the final version, which saw the opinion of the 3rd Standing Committee presented on May 3, 2023.
According to the draft bill, “The promotion of an appropriate diversification development of Macao’s economy is a development goal of the Macao SAR and a vision that the Macao SAR Government and all sectors of society are committed to achieving. In harmony with the diversified development of sectors, Macao needs to nurture more local qualified professionals and also to attract any scarce qualified professionals from abroad who are needed for the industrial sectors that promote socio-economic development. With sufficient numbers of outstanding qualified professionals, Macao will be better able to support the rapid reconversion of local industries and improve the current limiting situation oriented towards a predominant industrial structure.”
This new regime, among other things, brings greater transparency in the Temporary Residency Permit procedure, of those who meet the requirements and can be qualified as “talents” or be included in the qualified professionals that are scarce and necessary for the development of the various sectors of Macao’s industry.
This qualification can be framed as ” top-quality professionals”, “highly qualified professionals” and “senior professionals”.
In its main terms, this new regime will reshape the procedure to the request for a temporary residence permit for qualified professionals, which, in an initial phase of the application, will follow an entirely computerized procedure in an account specifically opened for this purpose (https://www.scdt.gov.mo), where all the relevant documentation will be processed.
Firstly, there will be an application phase for one of the three types of qualified staff – “top-quality qualified professionals”, “highly qualified professionals” and “senior professionals” – whose monitoring will be carried out by the specialised groups of the Commission for the Development of Qualified Professionals (CDQQ) instead of in the Macao Trade and Investment Promotion Institute (IPIM), which until then was responsible for vetting applications for the temporary residence permits made by managerial personnel and Technical and Professional Qualification Holders.
Subsequently, (CDQQ) sends the review opinion of the applications to the Commission of Evaluation for the Recruitment of Qualified Professionals (CAQQ) which, after vetting, will issue a notification to the interested party to go to the Public Security Police Force (CPSP) for handling the further formalities of the application for the temporary residence permit.
This change will undoubtedly bring about a refreshment to this regime, which has long called for transformation. In it, it aligns with Law No. 16/2021, which establishes the Legal Regime of Migration Control and Residence and Stay Permits in the Macao SAR, which also reflects an adjustment to reflect the current reality of Macao.
And with this change, which is expected to come into effect on July 1, 2023, it is hoped that the procedure, which has taken a long time to be completed, will become a quick and effective way to meet the need for qualified professionals in Macao, so that the diversification of Macao’s economy can be developed at levels of competitiveness appropriate to the challenges ahead.