Portugal first choice for expats


In the survey, Portugal comes fourth out of 52 destinations assessed. The country ranks in the top 10 indexes for quality of life (4th), ease of settling (7th) and personal finance (10th). While it also ranks a good 19th in the Expat Essentials Index, it doesn’t perform as well in the Working Abroad Index (35th). However, overall, 85% of expats are satisfied with their life in Portugal, compared to 71% globally, according to the survey of almost 12,000 respondents worldwide.

A better quality of life

Portugal also ranks fourth in the Quality of Life Index. The survey found that 24% of expats moved to Portugal for a better quality of life, the most common reason for moving there. More than nine out of ten people (94%) like the climate and the weather (compared to 62% globally), and 89% are satisfied with the air quality (compared to 65% globally). Portugal ranks seventh in the Leisure options subcategory: expats are particularly satisfied with recreational sports opportunities (87% vs. 75% globally).

Safe and open

Beyond that, 93% of expats find it easy and safe to walk and/or cycle around (compared to 77% globally), and 82% feel they can express themselves openly and express their opinions (compared to 64% globally). . For this last factor, Portugal actually ranks first in the world. When asked what they like the most about life in Portugal, an Indian expat answers: “the good environment and the peaceful life”.

A place to call home

Portugal occupies another place in the top 10 of the ease of installation index (7th). “I appreciate the beauty of the country and the relaxed way of life of the Portuguese people and their friendliness”, shares an expat from the Netherlands, and a respondent from Germany stresses that “the people are friendly and open”. 82% of expats describe the Portuguese as generally friendly (compared to 66% globally), and 80% consider them particularly friendly towards foreign residents (compared to 65% globally). They also find it easy to make local friends (51% vs. 42% globally) and are happy with their social life (67% vs. 56% globally).

Perhaps that’s why 77% generally feel at home in Portugal (compared to 62% globally), and 41% even feel completely at home there (compared to 30% globally). Overall, 45% of expats intend to stay in Portugal forever, while only 35% of expats globally say this about their respective host country.

Low costs — Low salaries

The low cost of living (8th) is another strong point of expat life in Portugal. More than seven in ten people (71%) rate the general cost of living positively (compared to 45% globally). However, only 63% are satisfied with their financial situation (compared to 60% globally) and 74% believe that their household disposable income is sufficient or more than sufficient to lead a comfortable life (compared to 72% globally) – both shares are slightly above the world average.

Administrative issues

Portugal ranks 19th in the Expat Essentials Index. While the survey shows average to good performance for most of the factors studied in this index, this is not the case for the administrative topics. More than half of expats (52%) find it difficult to deal with bureaucracy/local authorities (vs. 39% globally), and 24% are unhappy with the availability of administrative/government services online (vs. 21% in the world). “Dealing with government bureaucracy is a daunting task and sometimes a paperwork nightmare,” says an American expat.

The best and the worst

According to the results of the Expat Insider 2022 survey, Mexico (1st), Indonesia, Taiwan, Portugal, Spain, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam, Thailand, Australia and Singapore (10th) are the best destinations for expats. The top five destinations stand out when it comes to ease of settling in and personal finances.

The worst destinations for expats are Kuwait (52nd), New Zealand, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, Italy and Malta (43rd).


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