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Government Incentives to Live in the Interior of Portugal: See How They Work

9 de January, 2023

Government Incentives to Live in the Interior of Portugal: See How They Work

The government of Portugal offers incentives for those who decide to live and work in the interior of the country, through the Programa Emprego Interior MAIS.
Reading: 9 min

In 2020, the Portuguese government launched an incentive program to live in the interior of Portugal. With the measure, it intends to stimulate workers and families to move to the less inhabited regions of the country.

Are you interested? Know that Brazilians can also participate in the action. Check out in this article what are the requirements, support amounts, and how to apply for the program.

QuestionAnswer
Is there help for living in Portugal?Yes, it exists. The government of Portugal has created the Interior Employment PLUS Program to encourage Portuguese and foreigners to move to cities in the interior.
How to receive incentive to live in the interior of Portugal?You need to check whether you meet all the requirements and, if so, prepare the documentation and apply for the program.
Does Portugal give incentives to Brazilians to move?Not specifically. But Brazilians with legal residence in the country can also participate in the incentive program to live in the interior of Portugal.

Are there incentives to live in the interior of Portugal?

Yes, there are.

With the aim of encouraging more people to live in the country’s interior areas, which have seen a reduction in population in recent years, the Portuguese government has created incentives for those who will live and work in these regions.

The measures are part of the Interior Employment PLUS Program, which has been in effect since August 2020. Understand how it works and what benefits are foreseen below.

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Inland Employment Program MAIS

This program is aimed at workers who sign an employment contract or create their job or company in the interior of the country. It is essential that the workplace must be in an inland territory.

According to the official information from IEFP (Employment and Professional Training Institute), responsible for receiving the applications, it is a requirement that the place of work implies geographical mobility to an inland territory.

By July 2022, the program received 1,114 applications.

Support values

There are three types of support: the main one (financial support for employability), a household surcharge, and a relocation allowance.

The amounts are calculated based on the Social Support Index (IAS), which is updated annually. In 2020 it is equivalent to 444.20€ and in 2023 it will be 478.70€.

According to information obtained from the IEFP site, the values are as follows:

Type of supportValueMaximum value in 2022Maximum value in 2023
Employment support6 times the IAS2.665,20€2.871,6€
Supplement per family memberUp to 3 times the IAS1.332,60€1.436,1€
Moving allowanceUp to 2 times the IAS888,40€957,4€

Form of payment of support

The payment of the support is divided in three moments, like this:

  • 50% of the total amount is paid within 10 working days after delivery of the term of acceptance and other required documents;
  • 25% is paid in the 7th month after the beginning of the work contract or creation of the company or job;
  • 25% is paid in the 13th month after the beginning of the employment contract or creation of the company or job.

For the support to be paid in full, it is necessary to prove that the conditions of the grant have been maintained for the entire period. It is also necessary to present proof of the expenses incurred with the move (transportation of goods).

Who can apply?

There are four groups of people who can apply for this incentive to live in the countryside:

  • Unemployed or employed people who are looking for a job (you must be registered with the IEFP or with the employment services of the autonomous regions);
  • Those who do not have Social Security registration as a self-employed or salaried worker (in the month before applying for the program, signing the employment contract, or creating their own job or company);
  • Portuguese who left the country after December 31, 2015 and have lived outside the country for at least 1 year;
  • National citizens of countries in the European Union, Switzerland, the European Economic Area, and nationals of third countries who live in Portugal and have a residence permit with work authorization, or are self-employed.

Program Requirements

To be able to participate in the program and submit an application, you must meet the requirements: change of residence, inclusion in one of the working arrangements, and contract conditions.

1. change of residence

The move to a territory classified as interior must happen on a permanent basis and the previous residence cannot also be in the interior. Thus, the change of territory from “interior to interior” does not give the right to participate in the program.

The workplace must also be located in an inland region and the move must take place no later than 90 days before or after the start of the job.

2. Be included in one of the modalities of work provision

These 5 conditions are accepted:

  • Open-ended employment contract;
  • Fixed-term employment contract (with an initial duration of 12 months or more);
  • Uncertain employment contract (as long as it has a foreseeable duration of 12 months or more);
  • Creating your own job;
  • Opening a small business (with a maximum of 10 jobs).
Worker serving in a restaurant
The incentives to live in the interior of Portugal are aimed at workers.

3. Conditions of the employment contract

Employment contracts must meet all these conditions:

  • Started between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2023;
  • Celebrated full time;
  • Determine that the work must be done inside;
  • Meets the minimum monthly guaranteed retribution requirement (minimum wage in Portugal);
  • Make sure that you observe the collective labor regulations regarding remuneration (if applicable) in your case.

If the worker creates his or her own company or job, they can participate in the incentive program to live in the interior if they fit one of these requirements:

  • A cooperative is formed;
  • The professional activity is performed as a self-employed person (with commercial or professional income);
  • A private for-profit entity is formed;
  • The company results from the acquisition or assignment of an establishment or the acquisition of the share capital of an existing company (provided that there is an increase in share capital).

How to apply

The application must be made directly on the IEFP Online site. The documents required are:

  • Copy of the employment contract, proof of business opening, or other document that demonstrates the opening of the business or creation of the job;
  • Proof of the change of residence;
  • Documents showing the composition of the household (if the application is extended to other family members);
  • Declaration that you have no debt with the Social Security or the Tax Authority (it can be replaced by the authorization to consult online the contribution situation in the two bodies).

Until when is the program valid?

The validity of the incentive program to live in the interior of Portugal has been extended. It will now be valid until December 31, 2023.

Can foreigners apply for the incentive to live in the interior?

Yes, as indicated in the program definitions, as explained above, citizens from outside the European Union can apply for the Inland Employment PLUS Program.

To do so, you must meet all the requirements, and also have a valid residence permit(autorização de residência) with permission to work in Portugal.

What is it like to live in the interior of Portugal?

Living in the interior of Portugal has both advantages and disadvantages, just like anywhere else. In general, in the interior you live a more peaceful life, safer and closer to nature.
So it can be good depending on what you want and if you like life in these conditions.

Advantages

Among the main advantages are tranquility and lower prices in general, which can be much more affordable compared to larger cities. The proximity to nature can also be a great benefit.

The price of rents, especially, can be one of the big advantages, and it will make a lot of difference, both in the monthly budget and in the quality and size of the property that you can get to rent or even buy in the interior for a more affordable price.

Disadvantages

The disadvantages, on the other hand, can be greater difficulty of access to certain services or opportunities that only exist in larger cities, or even the need to always have to commute when you need certain services.

It is worth pointing out that even among the hinterlands, there can be big differences. There are relatively small towns, but which have a very good infrastructure, and very small localities (such as villages), from which commuting is inevitable for almost any consumption activity or service provision.

Best cities to live in in the interior of Portugal

Portugal has no shortage of good options for small towns in the countryside to live in, from north to south of the country there are charming places. Check out some options:

Barcelos

Located in the district of Braga, the famous city of Barcelos is a good option in the north of the country. Despite having a population of only 24,000 residents, Barcelos has a good infrastructure of services and commerce.

It also has beaches relatively nearby and options for leisure activities close to nature.

It has good access to larger cities and is about 60 kilometers from Porto and 22 kilometers from Braga.

Amarante

Amarante is in the district of Porto, also in the north, and is a small, charming town of approximately 24,000 inhabitants.

Besides being a region of very close contact with nature, the city, which is crossed by the Tâmega river, has all the basic infrastructure necessary for day-to-day life, such as schools, commerce, and public services.

It is close to some larger cities, such as Porto, about 60 kilometers away by car.

Fresh vegetables
The quality of life is one of the reasons why people choose to live in the interior.

Take

Tomar is in the district of Santarém, in the center of the country, and has about 19,000 inhabitants. Compared to the previous ones, it is a little more isolated from other larger cities.

The beautiful Templar city, receives a good tourist movement annually and has commerce and public services, such as health care and schools.

It is located 67 kilometers from the city of Santarém and 79 kilometers from Leiria.

Loulé

In the district of Faro (in the Algarve), the city of Loulé has about 20 thousand residents and is a good option for those who want to live near the coast.

It also has a good infrastructure of services and shops that allow for a quiet life in the city.

It is close to cities like Faro, just over 17 kilometers away (where the University of the Algarve is located) and Albufeira, 32 kilometers away.

The complete list of inland territories can be found in the list of territories of the PNCT (National Program for Territorial Cohesion).

How to get a job in the interior of Portugal?

To get a job in the interior of Portugal, there are a few ways. One of them is to look for companies that are based in inland territories to check for vacancies.

Another way is to use the job sites in Portugal, and filter the searches with a focus on those territories. Good options are the sites Net Empregos, OLX and Sapo Emprego.

The face-to-face search can also be valid, since in Portugal many commercial establishments, for example, usually advertise their job openings in their windows. Therefore, making a trip to the countryside cities can help you to get a job.

In addition, it is worth remembering that it is possible to participate in the incentive program when you open your own small business or create your own job, provided that the professional activity is demonstrably performed in the interior.

Article by Tié Lenzi, originally published on the EuroDicas website.

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