Macau: Short-term visas considered for Portugal, Brazil innovators

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Macau is considering the creation of short-term visas for technological innovation covering Portugal and Brazil, according to a public consultation document launched on Friday by the authorities on economic diversification.

One of the points of the plan, which also involves strengthening cooperation with Portugal in tourism and education, centres on the possibility of creating a short-term visa regime for technological innovation, both in Macau and in Hengqin, an island whose management is shared between the former territory administered by Portugal and the Chinese province of Guangdong.

“We will study the authorisation of an appropriate short-term stay (business visa or entrepreneurship visa) for technological innovation teams from abroad (including Brazil and Portugal) to set up businesses in Macau and Hengqin, facilitating their search for local and Mainland China partnerships,” the document reads.

This strategy is in line with the desire to move towards “a selection of the best technological innovation teams from Brazil and Portugal, attracting them to settle in Macau and Hengqin, or to cooperate with teams from the cities of the Greater Bay Area” but also by extending an innovation and entrepreneurship competition to these two countries.

The Greater Bay Area is a Beijing project to create a world metropolis that integrates Hong Kong, Macau and nine cities in Guangdong province, in a region with about 80 million inhabitants and a gross domestic product (GDP) of more than one trillion euros, similar to the GDP of Australia, Indonesia and Mexico, countries that are part of the G20.

“Programmes for further studies in Portugal will also be promoted, deepening cooperation between higher education institutions in Macau and those in Portugal, with a view to training staff in Portuguese,” the document said.

Portugal is also mentioned in the context of the exploration of international tourism markets: “With regard to the exploration of visitor markets, in addition to the expansion of the Southeast and Northeast Asian markets, markets such as India, the Middle East, Europe and the United States will be gradually explored, and tourism promotion activities for Macau will be carried out in Portugal and Spain”.

The emphasis on a commitment to Portuguese-speaking countries is repeated in general terms throughout almost 200 pages of the public consultation document, whether in the field of traditional Chinese medicine, in the bond market, in the creation of a financial services platform with Portuguese-speaking countries, support for the entry of Portuguese-speaking products into the interior of China, or even with the construction of a Centre for Science and Technology Exchange and Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking nations.

The public consultation will run for 30 days, until 2 September.

For the government, “promoting the development of adequate diversification of the economy is the key to resolving the conflicts and deep problems that have arisen in the course of Macau’s socio-economic development, and is a mandatory design to achieve long-term prosperity and stability” in a territory that is heavily dependent on the gaming industry.

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