Portugal is most definitely a country that is on the upswing, with the population growing and an economy primed for great success. While there are large areas of the country dedicated to tourism and holiday revelers, there are climactic differences between the north and southern ends of the nation that have been developed specifically for the tourism industry. However, on average it is still one of the warmest European states, perhaps one of the main reasons why the country is seeing net immigration grow with more Expats moving and living in Portugal.
The history of Portugal is both interesting and varied, having under gone a series of wars and battles to cement independence, before releasing explorers to all areas of the globe. The country also has the longest standing alliance of all time, having signed an agreement of co-operation with England in 1373 and now one of the most encompassing, the European Union.
According to Wikipedia in 2009, Portugal has been found as the 14th most peaceful and 13th most globalized country in the world. It has been considered as the 19th highest quality of life in the world in 2009 despite having the lowest per capita GDP of the Western European countries. This truly is a testament to the great potential of the country for both its people and the burgeoning expat population.
Portugal is well known for its explorers who sailed the world in search of land and treasure and the country also has a great collection of renowned literature and music. The country also introduced a number of famed artists, whom many are still held in high esteem to this very day.
In Wikipedia 2009, the culture of Portugal is an amalgamation of many civilizations that have been under the aegis of Portuguese royalty in the Age of Discovery. Food and Football are also deeply ingrained into the Portuguese way of life, with Football compared to more of a religion than sport. The country is also very well known for its love of fine wine and fine food. Portugal is a country that is very proud of its culture and this is very evident in the way celebrations and festivals are held throughout the year. The people themselves are very friendly, offering a warm welcome to visitors from overseas.
Prior to joining the European Union in 1986, Portugal had experienced a very volatile and unpredictable economic path. Successive governments have however used the stable environment of the EU to implement a number of far reaching changes that have brought the economy to where it stands today. This stability has been able to overcome the current worldwide financial recession and has made Portugal one of the hotspots for economic activity despite the financial downturn.
Able to compete, and often better, than some of its larger neighbors, Portugal has excelled in areas such as oil refineries, cement production and furniture to name only a small selection of its thriving industries. The economic environment has been very well controlled in the policies undertaken by successive governments and many expect further growth in the short to medium term for its people.
The prevailing economic environment and the fact that unemployment has been only pegged at 6.7%, which has attracted many numbers of foreign nations to settle in Portugal. The country now has a growing foreign community from former Indian and African colonies to Eastern Europeans and Brazilians who have made Portugal their home. There is also a rapidly expanding Chinese community that has added both their traditional working and living practices to the culture of the country.
Portuguese property has been a hot area for some time, due to the improving economy and the favorable tax situation that has been instituted by a government looking to attract capital investment. This has resulted in a substantial increase in property prices over the last few years, although compared to other European destinations , it is great value for your investment.
The holiday trade has also opened up a variety of property markets with many overseas visitors looking to invest in holiday homes. This has created hot spots within some of the more popular holiday destinations, giving rise to substantial price increases. The hottest properties are the golf resorts in the known tourist destinations of Algarve as it prepares to host the 2018 Ryder Cup. The overall property market is still in its infancy, with the country only falling within the investment community radar since joining the European Union.
What does the future hold? Well, with a very sympathetic government looking to attract new visitors and inward investment, and the favorable comparisons against other European countries, many are forecasting good times ahead for the Portuguese property market and the country’s economy as a whole.
The Portuguese income tax system is similar to that of the UK, with a pay as you earn (PAYE) set-up where tax is deducted at source. While income tax is a little lower than most other European countries, when adding in the social security element the overall impact is very similar.
Once all of your employment paperwork is in place, and you have begun paying taxes to the state, you will then become entitles to the full range of potential benefits including, health care, sickness, retirement, disability, pension, maternity, etc.
Due to the fact that unemployment is only at 6.7% the cost of the Portuguese state benefits system is only a fraction of some countries such as Italy where problems are deep seated. As the economy continues to grow and tax income increase, additional investment into services and benefits should continue.
While Portugal was often the quiet partner of the Europe Union, the country is showing many counterparts how to control and expand an economy that is still in relative infancy. The employment figures are impressive, the economy is growing and the property market is still in demand.
The growing expat community in Portugal has been increasing as seen in Portugal Expat Forum in a post last 18 August 2009:
“Almancil and surrounding region, tens of thousands of homes owned by Brits, thousands of businesses run by Brits and a high number of UK expats. (I read different figures often but its usually estimated as between 30000 and 40000 permanent/semi permanent residents).”
Taking all of this into account, as well as the attractive climate and friendly nationals, Portugal is a place that appeals to many as it is one of the most popular destinations for immigrants and tourists alike. It has been called in the Portugal Expat Forum in August 3, 2009 as:
“Portugal is one of the best places to retire… “Europe´s West Coast!!”
Capital : Lisbon
Official Language : Portuguese
Government : Parliamentary democracy with a President and Prime Minister.
Size : 92,391 km2
Population : 10.6 million
Currency : Euro
International Dialling Code : +351
Economy : 22nd largest in the world
Religion : Predominately Roman Catholic