Portugal has been making tourist lists of destinations for quite some time now. But recently digital nomads have been flying towards the country as this has been increasingly becoming a WFH (work-from-home) destination of choice.
The pandemic disrupted the traditional concept of the work environment. Hence the office idea as we all once knew it is long gone (with no turning back, one might dare to say). Due to all the recent restrictions implemented during the lock-down, both companies and professionals have been working from home for the past two years now. This has shifted employees’ preferences, who by now easily choose flexibility and mobility (which enable a bigger work-life balance) over the standard routines and in-office perks.
While the WFH became the new normal and millions relented to be working from home full time, others opted for a new (and more radical) solution: going abroad, setting roots in a different country and working from there, in search of a better quality of life.
Time to shine for Portugal! Known for its sunny weather and wonderful beaches, this tiny square of land by the sea has several other reasons why professionals from around the globe have been choosing and with the most diverse academic background are opting to establish their roots here. So, no surprise that dev and tech professionals are cutting this trend. But why is that? Here’s what you need to know!
Why is Portugal the top WFH destination? 6 reasons to consider
Brace yourselves! In case you didn’t know, Portugal has been named the best country in the world for professionals to be remote workers.
Yes! You read correctly!
If you ever dreamed about enjoying the sunny dreamy weather of this European eastern corner, you can do it while performing your best at work (remotely)!
Based on 22 factors (divided into six main categories, those being: local prices, health and safety, social life, travel cost and accessibility, weather, and remote working conditions), the website Kayak (and Momondo, if you prefer), published the Travel and Work Index, which compared over 100 countries and elected the most suitable to combine remote working and leisure.
Portugal ranked highly in all the previously mentioned categories, thus occupying first place in the list.
This goes to say that besides the natural beauty many point out, Portugal has some unique features that are essential to attract tech professionals from all over the world. Highly recognised tech talent, linguistic skills, affordable costs, safety conditions and a great time zone compatibility are some of the arguments that many nomad professionals are highlighting when choosing Portugal as a WFH destination. But there’s more.
If you need extra information on why you should pick Portugal to be your location of choice to WFH, we gathered everything you must consider.
1. Geographical location
Geographically speaking, Portugal tops its opponents (we might say), given that it allows to travel easily and cheaply, not only to other European countries, but also to any major capital in the world.
Plus, while being a small piece of land (just slightly over 92K square kilometres), Portugal offers a wide range of places and landscapes to view. Starting in the so loved coastline and the amazing beaches, going to the countryside, running quickly through to the mountains, and ending up in the main cities (Porto, Lisbon, Coimbra, Aveiro, among others) professionals will have access to various cultural and artistic places, full of history, monuments, and events.
3. Quality infrastructures
For dev and tech professionals, or even other digital nomads, Portugal offers access to proper services, namely, high-quality internet connection (available even in public spots, such as museums, cafés, restaurants, and other places), which makes it easier for anyone to work here.
Furthermore, it’s also easy to find co-working spaces, where digital nomads can work and interact with other professionals if they intend to do so. There are payable spaces (although affordable), that can be booked on a daily, weekly and/or monthly basis. You can find co-working spaces all over the country on websites like Coworker.
4. All about simple logistics
If you ever wondered why Portugal has been being chosen by so many professionals, this is something to consider. Portugal doesn’t require any kind of special status for digital nomads. And while there have been some discussions to create a work visa for remote working in Portugal, so far the only thing requested is one of the two following options:
- A short-stay visa, that goes from 90 to 180 days periods (enabling tourism, seasonal work, family visits, business travel, etc.);
- A temporary stay visa (that lasts less than one year);
- A residence permit (which enables two entries or a four-month stay).
Remote workers can apply for a D7 Visa & Residence Permit, available for non-EU citizens with a passive income or a remote job.
Also, regarding this subject, if a professional chooses to go to Madeira, he/she can access the Digital Nomads Madeira, a website that gathers information on working spaces, leisure activities and other useful information.
Airbnb is still the number one option for professionals who choose Portugal as a WFH destination, given that it is easy to book, cheap and provides a sort of homey feel.
But other options such as hotels, hostels, guesthouses and co-living spaces (this one being a favourite among digital nomads and freelancers), are also available at pretty reasonable prices.
6. Tax incentives for foreign residents
Yes, this has been quite attractive and that might be a strong reason for professionals from all over the world to choose Portugal as a WFH destination. The country provides the Non-Habitual Resident (NHR) status, which is a special income tax regime offering attractive tax benefits.
Whilst there are some rules to fulfil, this is still an interesting program to discover. The NHR is intended to a specific group of people, but namely: pensioners; individuals with income from employment or individuals with passive income. When speaking about remote workers, the last status is the one to look for.
The NHR program advantages include:
- Special individual tax treatment on incomes during 10 years;
- Tax Exemption for almost all foreign-sourced income;
- A 20% flat rate on certain Portuguese-source incomes (for specific cases), plus social security;
- Tax residency within the EU in a white-listed country;
- Tax exemption for an inheritance;
- No wealth tax;
- Free cash remittance to Portugal;
Remote workers established in Portugal can qualify for an NHR, just by;
- Become a tax resident in Portugal under Portuguese law;
- Doesn’t have a record of tax payment in Portugal in the 5 years before the one becoming a resident in Portugal.
To become a tax resident, anyone must reside in the country for more than 183 days in a year or to have a residence in Portugal (whether it is a bought or rental property).
The process then is quite easy. After registering as a tax resident, it’s only necessary to request the NHR at the official services (by March 31st of the following year of becoming a resident).
Portugal awaits you!
We could keep talking about the food, the climate, the people, and all those well-known factors usually mentioned when speaking about Portugal. But for professionals, there is more to it.
Safety is a top winner, alongside the minimal air pollution and the leisure possibilities.
But tech professionals have even more reasons to choose Portugal as a WHF destination. You can find all the information and additional motives here.
Want to relocate to Portugal? Check out these tech jobs that offer visa and relocation support!
Gostava de fazer uma viagem para conhecer uma cultura diferente.
Hi, please correct the line of “92 square kilometers”. Portugal is not 92 square kilometers, it is more than 92K square kilometers. Thanks.
Hi Mahmudul, nice catch! Corrected!