Why is Portugal a Friendly Country for Expatriates?

17 de July, 2022

Why is Portugal a Friendly Country for Expatriates?

Portugal is the best country in Europe and the 4th in the world to live as an expatriate, according to the Expat Insider Survey.
Reading: 6 min

Portugal is the best country in Europe to live in as an expatriate. This is what The Expat Insider’s ranking says Surveywhich measures the receptivity of the residents of 181 countries and territories in relation to foreign residents. In 2022, the country rose in the general ranking and now ranks 4th in the world (behind Mexico, Indonesia and Taiwan) and 1st in the European continent. According to the survey, 85% of the expatriates are happy with life in Portugal. About 90% of respondents said they like the climate and highlighted the quality of the air they breathe in the country. In addition, 93% said it is easy and safe to get around on foot or by bike.

The Expat Insider survey takes into account a number of criteria, including, for example, the ease of making new friendships within the local community and the likelihood of expats remaining living in the country. A total of 11,970 expats representing 177 nationalities and living in 181 countries or territories were interviewed.

In this article, we extrapolate the criteria presented in the Expat Insider ranking to demonstrate why Portugal is such a friendly and special country for foreigners.

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Why is Portugal considered such a friendly country?

Several factors make it easy to adapt to Portugal. Its people are welcoming and always willing to help. A gastronomy is varied and safe. O climate climate is mild, and the scenery breathtaking. Besides being a peaceful and practically violence-free country, which is learning to respect gender issues and the cultural and religious differences of its people. its people.

Welcome to Portugal
LGBT rights in Portugal

Portugal has been pointed out as a Gay Friendly destination and very safe for this public. In the last 3 years the country has always been in the top 3 of the most hospitable travel destinations for the LGBTI community, according to the Spartacus International Gay Guide. Between 2018 and 2019, Portugal rose from 27th place to the top of the Spartacus Gay Travel Index list.

In addition, Portugal is among the 10 European countries that have led the way in LGBTQI+ rights, according to the ILGA Europe Rainbow Map 2022. The index that ranks 49 countries on their respective legal practices and policies that protect LGBTQQ+ rights and freedoms. Every year since 2009, ILGA Europe has published this report. Each nation receives a score on a scale of zero to 100.

Portuguese society has evolved rapidly in terms of LGBTQI+ rights. Homosexuality was discriminated against in Portugal in 1982. In 2010, the country began allowing same-sex marriage. In 2016, adoption by same-sex couples was authorised.

Respect for Cultural and Religious Differences

Portugal is one of the countries with the fewest restrictions on religious freedom in the world. This is what a study 2016 study by the Pew Research Center on social and governmental restrictions on religious practice in the world. It is a secular state, where freedom of religion and belief prevails.

In 2011, around 88% of the Portuguese population declared themselves Catholic. Data from the last census (2021) regarding religion have not yet been released by INE, but it is estimated that this percentage has reduced to around 75% today. Besides Catholics, the country also has Evangelicals and Jehovah’s Witnesses. Jews, Anglicans, Muslims, Hindus, Orthodox, Bahá’ís, Buddhists, Candomblecists, Gnostics and spiritualists are the other minority religious groups in this European country.

Despite the predominance of Catholics, it can be observed that there is no fanaticism or major discussions about religiosity in the local community. Portugal is considered a reference in terms of religious tolerance.

Large Expatriate Community

An expatriate will hardly feel like a stranger in Portugal. Around 700 thousand foreigners currently live in the country. According to the SEF, the most representative nationalities are from Brazil, followed by Ukraine, the United Kingdom, Cape Verde, India and Italy. The mix of accents and cultures is increasing, as is the ease of access to imported goods from different countries.

Taking the example of the Brazilian community, it’s easy to find products made in Brazil in Portugal. From food items, like cheese bread, to shows by Brazilian bands, as well as beauty treatments and clothing brands.

The same goes for famous English cider brands, Mexican chillies or Indian spices and incense. Whatever your nationality, you’re sure to find items to make you homesick.

Food is Healthy and Adaptable to Any Diet

Portugal has some of the best food in the world. Not just tasty and diverse, but healthy and safe. The country currently ranks 17th in the Global Food Security Index, in the food quality and safety category, in a list of 113 countries, with a large supply of organic and fresh products in local markets.

A study made in 2018 by the journal Public Health Nutrition concluded that ultra-processed products have represented an increasing percentage in people’s diets around the world, but in Portugal, these foods represented only 10% of the food purchased by the Portuguese, an average much lower than in neighbouring countries such as Germany, Ireland or England.

Fast and Safe Lifestyle

Portuguese society has a slow and peaceful lifestyle. Even if you choose to live in big cities like Lisbon or Porto, you will not suffer too much stress. There are no long queues at the shops and the traffic is not chaotic.

A study conducted in 2019 by the Catholic University of Portugal found that 40% of Portuguese society adopts a quiet lifestyle: they spend more time outside of work, do more outside activities and are better time managers, showing higher levels of focus.

In addition, Portugal is a safe country, with low crime rates and the 4th most peaceful in the world: an invitation to outdoor leisure.

Other Sensitive Issues Driving Migration to Portugal

Due to the political climate in the world at the moment, it is also important to add some information on Portuguese gun and abortion laws. These are issues often raised by clients from various countries (especially American ones), as democracy is under increasing pressure across the planet. We clarify here the Portuguese government’s position on these issues:

Abortion is Legalised

A sensitive issue that we should also mention here refers to the laws regarding abortion in the country. In Portugal the interruption of pregnancy can be carried out in the first 10 weeks of gestation, calculated from the date of the last menstrual period. The voluntary interruption of pregnancy, at the woman’s request, can be performed in official (public) or officially recognized health facilities. If you are not attended in the health centre, you can go to the hospital (with obstetrics and gynaecology service) of the reference area.

Carrying Arms

Portuguese citizens may indeed bear arms. However, it is mandatory to have licensing/certificate of approval for carrying and use. Since 2019, all firearm owners are required to purchase a safe or non-portable safety cabinet to store their weapons at home.

In Portugal there are about 1.5 million legal weapons. According to the Public Security Police (PSP), about 80% of these are rifles and shotguns (classes C and D), which are in the hands of hunters, who can only use them when they are carrying out this activity. The PSP also estimates that there are over 210,000 valid licenses to use and carry weapons in Portugal, which includes licenses for collectors, defence or sport shooting.

Is Portugal a Good Place for Foreigners?

The aspects approached above are part of a list of questions that come to Atlantic Bridge through our clients. We understand that the decision to change country should always be supported by information and, more than that, should be taken based on criteria that each one deems relevant for his/her own life.

We believe that Portugal is a very special place in many aspects, democratic and easy to adapt. If living here is a desire of yours, talk to us and find out how to make this journey possible.



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