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Immigration to Portugal: who is attracted to this country?

The content of the article:

  • What is beautiful about Portugal
  • Difficulties of legalization
  • Which countries have the most immigrants 
  • Brazilian migrants: reasons for moving 
  • CIS and Russian countries: a new life


Back in 2010, Portugal was not in the most advantageous position among the "weighty" EU countries. There is a certain stereotype that Portugal has a poorly developed industry, and all income comes from tourism and agriculture. But if we look at the country's GDP, then 20% is accounted for by industry (in Germany, for example, this figure is 23.5%). You will be surprised, but agriculture accounts for only 2.2% of GDP. The country does not export wine and olives, which is more typical of Greece, but, surprise you again, cars and various accessories for them. Portugal is also famous for exporting wine corks, which it sells for more than 1 billion euros per year. And, of course, tourism. Yes, it plays a big role for the country's economy. Due to the flow of tourists, the country ranks 15th in the world in terms of traffic and is ahead of countries such as Egypt, Croatia, Hungary and some eastern countries. Over the past 2 years, not only tourists have rushed to Portugal, but also migrants who want to settle here for a long time. Naturally, the main issue for them is legalization and obtaining a residence permit.

Portugal provides several visas for obtaining a residence permit:

  • D1/D3 – work visas — who has an offer from an employer or has signed an agreement with a Portuguese company. The difficulty is that, as a rule, such contracts are signed with qualified specialists who have a European diploma and speak Portuguese fluently. 
  • D2 — for entrepreneurs — it is necessary to register an individual entrepreneur in Portugal or open a company. In addition, it is necessary to obtain several local contracts or agreements on the intentions of your activities. Documents about your place of residence (availability of housing in the country) and a bank account are required, where there must be a deposit above the annual subsistence minimum. Everything is complicated by long waiting periods (sometimes up to three years). Moreover, until you get a visa approved, you cannot leave the country.

If you do not have a business to relocate, you can start a Startup program, which involves an innovative approach and compliance with the basic requirements: firstly, thanks to your activity for 5 years, the turnover should exceed 300 thousand euros per year; and secondly, you need to provide jobs to the local population. Otherwise, you may be refused this visa.

  • D4/D5 – education at school, university, student exchange, internship and research activities — D4 is provided to children from 14 years old who want to study in schools in Portugal. When opening such a visa, the child's guardian may soon request a residence permit based on the family reunification program. Student internship visas can be issued for more than one year. D5 involves further training of a student in a specialty that was started back in his country. It is impossible to obtain a residence permit for short-term studies (up to 12 months), such as language courses.
  • D6 — family reunification — with this visa, you can make a request for the legalization of your family members: spouse, children under 18 years old, as well as children over 18 years old, if they are students and depend on the main applicant. It is noteworthy that it is possible to request a residence permit for retired parents, if they also depend on the applicant financially.
  • D7 — for those who receive passive income, this visa is suitable for different social categories: pensioners, investors and all those who can officially confirm their passive income. This visa is most often chosen by citizens of third countries outside the EU. The main condition is that income must exceed the level of the minimum wage in the country (for 2024, this amount is 820 euros per month or 9840 euros per year). If the applicant has a family, the amount for the spouse increases by 50%, and for the child by another 30%. Thus, your account must have at least 1,500 euros per month, but to open a residence permit, this amount must be presented in annual equivalent. Also, when applying for a residence permit, you must specify the address of your residence: This is either a long-term rental housing, or your own real estate. A residence permit is issued for a period of 1 year, followed by an extension for 2 years. 
  • D8 — Digital Nomad, digital nomad visa — unlike the D7 visa, the income of digital nomads for 2024 should exceed 3,280 euros per month. The visa has two terms: short–term — up to 12 months (it cannot be extended and a residence permit can be obtained); long-term - opens if there is the necessary amount in the account, it is possible to obtain a residence permit. The D8 visa allows you to enter the country without problems and stay in it for 120 days. If desired, it can be extended for another two months. 


The standard of living in Portugal is quite high. Food prices are cheaper than in some neighboring countries - Spain and Italy, but there is also unemployment in the country. Interestingly, the niche of the service sector has not yet been filled. The restaurant business, car repair and maintenance, construction work, design and decoration of holidays, entertainment for children — all this is in great demand in the south and in the center of Portugal. And therefore, those who are more or less familiar with the Portuguese market know what offers they can work with here. 

Since the Portuguese themselves love a leisurely and serene life (and those who have lived here for more than one year, note this immediately), immigrants are happy to use it and strive with even greater zeal to settle in the country permanently. A lot depends on what purpose they are coming here for. Portugal is a safe country, in small towns you can not be afraid for things left in the car, for children returning home late at night. But in Lisbon, it is migrants who commit petty theft and fraud. But they are often stopped by the presence of cameras. Which foreigners most often immigrate to Portugal? According to statistics, most of the foreigners who arrived in the country are from Brazil (29.3%), the British are in second place (6%), followed by citizens of Italy, Romania, etc. Brazilians are not accidentally leading in this ranking. Over the past couple of years, the number of Brazilians has really exceeded all indicators. Most of them go to Portugal in search of a better and safer life, quality education and healthcare. As migrants from Brazil note, the main thing that made them leave their sunny country (after all, Brazil also has access to the ocean, a wonderful climate) the fact that the crime rate has increased dramatically in the country over the past decades. Robberies on the street have become an integral part of Brazilian life. And this is not only due to the lack of work, but also the influence of a thriving drug business. The fall of the real, which occurred back in 2014, led to an economic crisis in the country. Salaries have fallen to a minimum, and food prices have risen. Since that time, the first wave of migration began. Many Brazilians are happy with their current situation in Portugal. So, in the north of the country, in the city of Braga, the largest community of immigrants from Brazil was formed. Portugal has also provided assistance to the football federation by accepting a large number of Brazilian leading football players into its clubs. It was in this country that they received support (financial and psychological) and the opportunity to do what they love. Compared with previous migrations, not only the socially unsettled part of society, but also a large number of highly educated specialists are now coming from Brazil. They see good prospects for opening and running their business in Portugal. The opportunity to enter the European market is also becoming a significant link.

Brazil and Portugal cooperate on many issues:

  • political — they are partners in promoting UN reform;
  • economic — Portugal's direct investment in Brazil has increased;
  • cultural — the commonality of language and religion. Countries pay attention to the promotion and dissemination of the Portuguese language in the world;
  • Brazilians do not have special benefits when moving to Portugal, but due to the language and common cultures, legalization is faster and easier for them. 


If Brazilians opened their “relocation" to Portugal back in the early 2000s, then citizens of the former Soviet republics (CIS) and Russians became interested in this country relatively recently, but at the same time they have already noted for themselves both security, and standard of living, and the quality of education and medicine. Moreover, our compatriots have settled not only in the central cities, but also in regions far from the center. Basically, these are, of course, entrepreneurs, freelancers, digital nomads — everyone who has prepared a financial cushion for themselves. However, as we noted above, jobs in the service sector can also be found. Seamstresses, hairdressers, waiters, builders — they are all in demand. Initially, many Russian-speaking migrants were afraid that they would face a language barrier, but as it turned out, this is not a problem. Most Portuguese understand English, and if you also start learning Portuguese, you will have a huge “respect". As one of our compatriots noted: “You need to love Portugal with all your soul so that she loves you.” 
In conclusion, we will answer the question posed: who is going to Portugal? Those who want to change their lives come here, who want to live "in a European way", but at a lower cost. If you consider this country as a new place of residence, please contact our experts, we will help you make your dreams come true


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