Living in Portugal
Why should I live in Portugal?
Historically, Portugal has been an extremely popular choice for international expats for business and pleasure alike. Enjoying EU membership for 27 years, it has undergone many changes both structurally and financially, emerging with a moderate economic climate and transparent tax rules.
Many migrate from overseas to take advantage of beaches and warm hospitality, famously found in the Algarve, or the larger towns on behalf of a growing number of multinational companies taking root in Portugal.
There are three key buying areas in Portugal, not including the island of Madeira. Most popular is the Algarve – the 240 mile southern coast, and then south of Lisbon lies the Blue Coast or Alentejo, which has remained relatively undeveloped and sports lower property prices, with the Silver Coast lying north of Lisbon which tempts buyers with its rolling hills, vineyards and olive trees, pricing starting at €100,000 for an apartment and from around €250,000 for a villa.
Education in Portugal is free and compulsory from the age of 6 to 15, with private schooling options also available as well as State regulated. The Ministry of Education (Ministério da Educação) is responsible for the administration of state schools in Portugal.
If you opt for a private school, you can confirm whether it is certified by the Ministry of Education (primary and secondary education), the Ministry for Science, Technology and Higher Education (for higher education), or the Ministry of Labour and Social Solidarity / Institute of social Security (for pre-school education).
Portugal is primarily a sun-drenched land of wine, good beaches and plenty of golf. You can visit the Algarve’s well-known Praia de Rocha for the full stunning coastal experience, but there are many stretches of sand around Portugal which will take your breath away. Football is taken very seriously in Portugal, but you can also relax with the popular array of yoga and meditation classes.
Over the years, a number of beautiful ‘parque ambiental’ have been grown throughout the country, great for walks and facilities for adults and children alike including climbing walls, cycle routes, barbecue areas and play equipment.
Even in the tiniest Portuguese villages you will find a range of restaurants and cafes to choose from. International restaurants are well represented, but of course local Portuguese cuisine is rich, diverse and to be tried, with signature fish dishes which must be served with a quality regional wine, and followed by a choice of delicious cheeses.
Extreme crime rates such as homicide and gun crime are very low level in Portugal compared to other developed countries, however petty crime such as pick-pocketing is a reality in some areas and relevant caution should be exercised. According to the Global Peace Index rankings in 2012, Portugal is the 16th most peaceful country in the world.
Social security and hence healthcare benefits typically only apply to EU and Portuguese nationals, however they can apply to you too depending on the terms of your residency, and this is worth discussing with a professional or your embassy or consulate.
The social security system has three basic schemes:
- A contributory scheme for employed individuals and their families (for sickness, birth/adoption, disability, retirement, unemployment, death, work-related accidents or illness)
- A contributory scheme for self-employed individuals (for birth/adoption, disability, retirement, death; optional coverage for family as well as illness and work-related illness)
- A non-contributory scheme for those who do not meet the minimum income requirements to belong to either of the first two schemes (for disability, retirement, death and family)