Living, working or investing in Portugal: the reality and future of Relocation | Observador | Kleya - Relocation, Retirement, Investment & Moving to Portugal
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Living, working or investing in Portugal: the reality and future of Relocation | Observador

Remote work is increasingly becoming a reality. Many companies have been looking to expand their business, exploring new geographies, transferring offices, services and, above all, people.


Remote work is increasingly becoming a reality. Many companies have been looking to expand their business, exploring new geographies, transferring offices, services and, above all, people.


If there's something that the almost 3 years of the pandemic have shown us, it's that work as we knew it is in a phase of mutation. These days, this can be increasingly flexible and typical office work can, in some cases, be performed productively anywhere in the world. Portugal is today a destination that welcomes more and more foreigners and that, thanks to the quality of life, the investment opportunities or even the conditions for independent work, has become one of the most attractive destinations. Thus, what is known as Relocation — the placement of employees to live in a different country from the one where they work — is increasingly recurrent.

However, it is important to realize that this is a lengthy process and that, above all, it is nothing compared to a vacation trip. The bureaucracy is bigger and therefore quite different preparation and planning is required. Knowing the legislation in force, the processes necessary to validate the move to the new country, balancing the individual needs of employees and their families, are some of the challenges that anyone who goes through a Relocation process may face. It was precisely in order to understand and discuss these same challenges and opportunities that the Round Table “Portugal as an opportunity to live, work or invest” took place on July 7 at the Observer. Moderated by journalist Camilo Lourenço, this was a conversation that included the opinions, and points of view, of Vasco Rosa da Silva, CEO of Kleya,

During almost an hour of conversation, the objective was to discuss the process of those who want to settle in Portugal in a global and holistic way, understanding challenges and opportunities that may exist when those who change country and choose Portugal to live. Whether for business, personal or investment reasons, what awaits you? Let's start with the difficulties. “Portugal has an attractive regime and that is why it is on the agenda as a country that attracts foreigners and that brings added value to foreigners who choose Portugal as their country of residence. But the difficulties turn out not so much to be related to the tax system, because it is relatively well designed to attract talent, but to what surrounds the tax system, which are the context costs. Context costs are still part of the tax system.

For the Lawyer, it is important to understand where we are in order to understand some flaws. “We are in Europe. And Europe itself is also another sign of another level of rules, bureaucracy, etc. And to come to Europe you have to go through certain emigration procedures, whether they are residence permits for investment (aka Golden Visa) or another type of visa. What our customers don't understand is the lack of follow-up from some institutions that these people have when they choose Portugal. They must have timely responses. One of the problems pointed out by foreigners to Portugal is the lack of rigor. It is necessary to reduce bureaucracy what is possible to reduce bureaucracy, without losing rigor, but in the sense of improving these interfaces”, he added. To all this, there are also problems related to housing.

“Housing is the fracturing issue in Portugal, it is the issue that generates the most frustration”, began by saying Vasco Rosa da Silva, CEO of Kleya, an Ageas Group company that provides independent advice with integrated solutions adapted to the different needs of different audiences. who wish to live in Portugal, from investors, expatriates, relocated workers, entrepreneurs and students. Vasco also underlines the importance of planning and management to speed up a Relocation process: “The time that such a process can take depends a lot on the specific situation of each person, including issues such as nationality, heritage, etc. That's why planning is so important. Because this ambiguity, which is typical of Latin countries, is very difficult for outsiders to understand.

With the offer of integrated solutions adapted to the needs of each client, Kleya is the company that proposes to handle the Relocation process from stage 0, streamlining processes and optimizing the time of those looking for its services. “The ecosystem that we build depends on being at the very beginning. When we founded the company, we thought: how does this work? And we realized that it was all wrong. We needed, right from the start, to be planning and advising on how everything was going to be done. We have processes that take 3 years, from the moment we start thinking to the moment we start executing. The first point we work on is the property, we have consultants to advise anyone who wants to buy or rent a property in Portugal. Then we have all the planning for the residency part. We have to go get the best lawyers, the best tax advisors, and think about how this is going to work, whether on a private or corporate level. I often say that when we have a new client, every hour we spend thinking and planning the job is time well spent. Relocation is just the execution part, what we really do is advise and design the best solutions for those who come to invest or work in Portugal.”, said Vasco Rosa da Silva.

And it is also in these processes of change that Cowork spaces enter. “Cowork spaces end up playing an important role”, said Carlos Gonçalves. “By sharing the workspace with professionals from different areas – we have real estate agents, we have lawyers, we have accountants, we have different people from different areas – people end up, in a way, being able to help a foreigner who comes to live, who comes to settle your company or who wants to invest in Portugal”. For the CEO, the advantage of these spaces ranges from contractual flexibility, investment and networking, through contact with professionals from the most diverse areas.


Give stage to the future

If it is true that there is still a long way to go, it is also true that there is much to expect from the future. Portugal, as a country to invest in, has increasingly asserted its place. For Tiago Cassiano Neves, “people today do not retire in the same way as in the past, when someone retired and stopped working. Today, the concept of retirement is no longer to stop working, but to start investing. It is having the ability to attract these people, who choose, at different times in their lives, to reside in Portugal, and then also having the opportunity to use Portugal as an investment platform. That is why I say that investing is, in fact, a normal stage for those who choose Portugal as their country of residence, but it is also necessary that Portugal offers these same opportunities”. And if at the beginning it pointed out the challenges, there is still time to share the benefits of those who choose our country to live. “Within what we call the competitive advantages of Portugal, for those who change their residence, and which go far beyond taxation, Portugal almost 11 years ago created a specific tax regime, called the Non-Habitual Residents Regime. This scheme is recognized, together with other countries, as one of the most competitive schemes in Europe for attracting talent”.

For the Lawyer, the big question for the future is the international predictability of changes and the international context. Still, he does not hesitate to say: “I think that what we are doing, we are doing well. The person residing in Portugal likes to reside here. Portugal is in a very good position compared to other countries”. For Carlos Gonçalves, the prospects for the future are “very good. Right now we have companies increasingly opting for remote work. The professionals themselves, nowadays, many of them only accept to work in certain companies if these companies provide them with flexible work and, therefore, companies like ours have an excellent opportunity here to be able to grow, because we also live in a new culture in terms of respect to the organization of work”.

With an eye on the future, arms cannot go down and investment cannot fail to happen. Attracting more businesses and companies is another of the needs. Who says it is Vasco Rosa da Silva. “There is work to be done at this level. This Digital Nomads and Corporate Nomads segment is essential because it is talent and we are desperate for talent, because the country, in order to grow, unfortunately also missed a lot of local talent”. For Kleya's CEO, this is a great opportunity to “put the pieces together. People, especially those who have a network, who have accumulated experience, who have accumulated assets that come from abroad to here, we have to bring them together with the people of Portugal, with entrepreneurs, with startups, and make the country to grow and our collective future to be better”.


Viver, trabalhar ou investir em Portugal: a realidade e o futuro da Relocation – Observador

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Non-Habitual Resident Tax Regime
Portuguese Special Tax Regime