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Seeking a modern day "El Dorado"?


Don’t be shocked if you fall for the charms of Portugal and the million different reasons that would make you want to call it “home”. Let’s take a quick look at all that this country has to offer!  

A small country of 10 million inhabitants, Portugal is famous for the kindness of its people, the mildness of its climate, and is especially appreciated by foreign investors thanks to its flourishing economy and its very favorable tax programs. A true gem carved in recent years, Portugal has all the assets of a tax haven and much more!

Today Portugal has a booming economy, with rising indicators and tax programs that prove to be very interesting for foreign investors delighted to discover the appeal of a country willing to welcome them in the best possible conditions. With just a few key figures, it is very easy to draw a representation of a prosperous economy. The first revealing indicator is the unemployment rate:  its unemployment has declined, dropping below 10% in 2017 after peaking at 17.5% in 2013. Economic growth is resuming, as evidenced by its main representative, the GDP, which has increased by + 1.5% each year since 2015. Meanwhile, public deficit has decreased to 2% of GDP in 2017 against a whopping 11.2% in 2010. Finally, its commercial deficits have simply disappeared since 2013, and the balance of trade is in surplus since. What an incredible recovery for this European outsider that no one had seen coming!

And factors are not set to change! The craze for this country is still going strong from a tourism and economic point of view: security is ever-present (bear in mind that Portugal, unlike its European neighbors, has experienced no attacks), and the cultural assets are infinite. In short, the country is economically stable with no shadow of a doubt. This is probably why the number of French expats enjoying a golden retreat under the sun of Cascais or the Algarve is endless. Indeed, among foreign investors, the French now rank first with 27% (first half of 2016) of real estate purchases, far ahead of the British (18%).

But why are many French citizens planning on relocating to Portugal? The answer is in these few words: pensions are exempt from taxes. Thanks to the status set by the Portuguese Government, that of "Non-habitual Residents", it is now very favorable for retirees to soak up the 300 days of sunshine offered by Portugal.

You simply have to meet a few requirements to be able to claim this status which cannot exceed a period of ten years however. If your country of origin (within the EUROPEAN UNION) has signed a "double taxation" agreement then the cards are in your favor! You will just need to buy or rent a so-called "usual" residence, one in which you will live in for a considerable time, and to stay in Portugal for more than 183 consecutive days a year. You just need to prove that you hadn’t resided in Portugal for the last five years and you’re good to go!  Your retirement pension will be totally exempt from taxes, as well as a certain amount of your income: the income earned outside Portugal, referred to as "passive" income, such as dividends and interest earned outside the country; those will then be taxed in the country of origin. In France, for example, this income will be taxed at a preferential rate of 12 to 15%). Add to this a cost of living over 30% lower than that of France, and it becomes easy to understand why more than 50,000 French people have already made this choice.

In addition, Portugal has introduced a number of advantages for foreign professionals occupying high-profile positions- researchers, engineers, and architects, meeting certain criteria with income tax rates capped at 20%. Perhaps it might be time to think about relocating yourself?

Another very attractive program for non-EU citizens is the Golden Visa. The name itself makes you dream! This Visa will give you the opportunity to travel freely within the European Union - this alone is a very valuable factor to those from countries that do not enjoy much visa free access globally.

In order to obtain this however, you will have to fulfill one of the following three criteria: you will either need to transfer one million euros to a Portuguese bank, or acquire property with a minimum value of 500,000 euros (and 350,000 euros in the case of old properties in need of renovation), or set up a company in Portugal which will allow the creation of at least ten jobs nationally.

If, after all this, you are still not convinced, you should consider taking a small introductory trip to this magnificent country over a weekend to discover the wonders it has to offer. The country enjoys the convenience of being operated by various airlines that offer direct flights from all major French cities and many European capitals. Whether you are seduced by the authentic charm of Porto, the cultural richness of the old city of Lisbon, the beautiful beaches of the Algarve or the upscale residential areas of the Cascais region, you will be amazed by the beauty and diversity of its landscapes as well as the kindness of its people.

Listening to the rhythm of its nostalgic Fado, you will be head over heels for this country with its undeniable attractions and indisputable economic assets!