I am Russian citizen who was working at a French University with a valid French permit of stay. I started working at a Portuguese University before my French permit of stay expired. After two month of working in Portugal they suddenly tell me that they can not pay those two months, because I don't have a Portuguese visa. I applied for the visa before coming to Portugal anyway, but due to crazy bureaucratic procedures in Portugal and technical issues I will only receive it tomorrow.

My question are: can they legally do this? If I have a valid researchers permit of stay and if I applied immediately for local documents as well, can I start working in a research institution of a different EU country directly? Is there a EU law that regulates this?

Thank you.

  • was it a Shengen Visa or France Visa?
    – Trish
    Jan 14, 2021 at 20:34
  • @Trish There are no Schengen work visa. Immigration is up to the individual states. Schengen is just about a lack of border controls, and entry into one Schengen country usually allows visits to any other participating country. Freedom of Movement (which is about the right to work in any EEA country) only applies to EU citizens, and there are some distinctions even then.
    – amon
    Jan 14, 2021 at 20:58
  • 1
    It is almost certainly illegal that they deny you the wages for works already performed, regardless of your immigration status. But you were also working without proper authorization and I'm not sure how Portugal handles this kind of situation.
    – xngtng
    Jan 15, 2021 at 6:11
  • Details of your Portuguese visa application is needed to answer this correctly. Was it specifically to work at that Portuguese University starting at the date your contract began? If yes, then the residence permit may, possibly, cover that period. The employer is still at fault, since they are required to check if you are allowed to work before you start working. This is a matter for an immigration lawyer. Jan 16, 2021 at 17:04

2 Answers 2


Immigration is up to the individual EU member states. A work visa is only valid in that country. While you might have been able to work for a Portuguese employer remotely from France, your French visa did not authorize you to take up work in Portugal.

The EU/EEA does have a concept of “freedom of movement”, meaning that an EU citizen has the right to work in any member state, and in that context to move/relocate to any member state. This is unrelated to the Schengen area. This also doesn't mean that there wouldn't be any bureaucracy – the member states can (and do!) still require registration, they just can't deny the right to free movement. However, you are not an EU citizen: you are neither a national of an EU member state, nor do you hold permanent residency status in any member state.

It seems that your Portuguese employer has messed up: they shouldn't have let you work without a visa. You have also messed up: you apparently came to Portugal to work without a valid visa or at least a temporary document providing interim authorization to work. It is unclear to me how this can be resolved. E.g. if your work contract was conditional on obtaining a visa within a certain period, that contract might have automatically voided even if you're not at fault. You should stay in close contact with your employer's HR to find a way to resolve this, if still possible.

  • I feel like I will have to let go this one. But thank you for the explanations. I will be much more careful next time
    – Ivan
    Jan 15, 2021 at 21:09

You have no right to work, and they have no right to employ you

But they still have to pay you for the work you did.

You broke the law and there are consequences that flow from that: fines, possibly being denied a visa, deportation etc. However, these are matters between you and the government of Portugal. Similarly, they broke the law and etc.

However, just because your employment was unlawful doesn't mean they can avoid paying you for it.

However, suing them will bring this all to the attention of the authorities which may trigger all of the previously mentioned unpleasantness.

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