What you need to know about living and working in Portugal

július 9, 2021




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A small country with beautiful coastal towns facing the Atlantic Ocean, breathtaking landscapes and hiking trails as well as a traditional cuisine beyond the usual. If you choose to work in Portugal, it is no problem to fill your free time with exciting activities, exploring the local culture and delicious meals with everything good from the sea.

For Danes, there are especially jobs within IT support, customer service and tourism. Many jobs are found in Lisbon, which is a city with increasing popularity and a growing international environment. If you need air change and new experiences in a country with 250 days of sunshine a year, you may need to take a closer look at the possibilities in Portugal.

Portugal: The basic facts

Portugal has only one neighbor, namely Spain, which borders the country to the north and east. To the south and west, Portugal meets the Atlantic Ocean, and respectively. The Azores and Madeira archipelagos are located 1,500 and 1,000 km from the capital Lisbon. Both archipelagos are known for their amazing nature with the opportunity to dive, sail and hike.

The country has an area of ​​92,000 square kilometers and is populated by approximately 10.3 million. people. With just under 3 million people, Lisbon is inhabitants the country’s largest city and at the same time one of the most densely populated capitals in Europe. Portugal is predominantly Catholic, but there are large variations in the different regions. There are most Catholics in the north.

Work Portugal

Get a job in Portugal and become part of a warm and welcoming culture

The Portuguese have the family at the center, and it is not unusual to see several generations gathered under one roof. On the whole, community and social activities are paramount, and this is also seen in Portugal’s distinctive café culture. From early morning to late evening, there is life in the street scene – in the morning a cup of coffee may be enjoyed at the sidewalk cafes, and in the evening you gather around the TV screens of the places and watch a football match with great enthusiasm.

Football is the biggest sport in Portugal, and the world’s most famous Portuguese, Cristiano Ronaldo, is one of the most important figures in football history. Likewise, Portugal has one of the world’s best national teams, which became European champions in 2016. Like their neighbors in Spain, the Portuguese go up in their sport with life and soul, and as a football fan, you are guaranteed to get some fantastic experiences home from a stay in Portugal.

Enjoy everything from the sea in the Portuguese restaurants

The long coastline is a blessing for the Portuguese cuisine, where the many fantastic ingredients from the Atlantic Ocean are enjoyed in style. In addition, many dishes contain cattle, pigs, goats and lambs, and the mild climate provides the population with fresh fruit and vegetables all year round. The flavors are characterized by garlic, olive oil and fresh herbs, and the cooking generally focuses on fresh and local ingredients.

Did you also know that Portugal is one of the only places in Europe with rice fields? Therefore, of course, the Portuguese also eat a lot of rice, just as potatoes are a good source of nourishment.

This is how it is to work in Portugal

If you get a job in Portugal, you will quickly learn that courtesy is highly valued. The culture can therefore seem a bit formal – you like to exchange business cards and address each other with professional titles. Handshakes are usually given, and if you know each other, you can give kind kisses.

In contrast to the formal meetings are the more casual business dinners, which are about creating relationships and getting to know each other. Here it is important not to force a negotiation situation – it is the social aspect that is the focal point.

Decisions are often made at a fairly high level, and it is therefore important to bring the right decision-makers to meetings and negotiations. Especially in larger companies, the decision makers are usually good at English and you can generally get far with good business English.

Job Portugal

How to find housing and work in Portugal

It is popular for foreigners to live and work in Portugal, and therefore there are a number of websites and Facebook groups focusing on temporary housing. In Lisbon, it can be more difficult to find a temporary rental home, so it is a good idea to start searching from home and in good time.

In Portugal, there are good opportunities to find a job as a Dane. It can be in Portuguese companies or in Danish companies with branches in Portugal. Here there are especially opportunities within IT support and customer service, and here you can get a job in a social environment with others who are in the same situation as you. Compared to Spain, which has been hit hard by high unemployment in recent years, opportunities are better in Portugal.

The cost of living is significantly lower than in Denmark, and you can therefore also manage with a smaller salary. The cost of housing is also lower than in most other European cities, and you can therefore look forward to a stay with good opportunities to enjoy lots of local food and get new experiences for manageable amounts.

You can check our article If you want to find information about the living costs in Lisbon. 

Taxes in Portugal

Before starting earning money in Portugal you need to register in the local tax office near to you by filling this form. If you’re living in Portugal for more than 183 days, you’re considered a resident and need to pay for your worldwide income with a progressive tax rate that goes from 14.5% to 48%, but if it’s less than that then you need to pay for the Portuguese sourced income only, as a foreigner, at a tax rate of 20%.

However, there are several benefits for foreigners with the Non-Habitual Residency (NHR) tax codes, which provide substantial exemptions for the first 10 years of residence. You can look for further information HERE.

Where to learn Portuguese?

If you got charmed by the Portuguese people and have decided to stay in Portugal longer than expected, we recommend you to learn the language properly, this way you can understand their traditions and custom in a better way. There are several courses, online and in-site where you can learn Portuguese, you can find them in this site.

That is why you need to live and find a job in Portugal

Lots of hours of sunshine, good job opportunities and a vibrant, international environment. There are many good arguments for finding work in Portugal. If you want to know more about the possibilities, you are very welcome to contact us at Job Squad.