Italians flock to Algarve for “tax benefits and security”

A fast-growing number of Italians are renting and buying homes in the Algarve, “especially Olhão”, in a bid to enjoy Portugal’s tax benefits for foreigners and as a safer alternative to other destinations such as Tunisia and Bulgaria.

According to a report by Lusa news agency, the number of Italians living in the Algarve has grown from 400-600 to “thousands” in the period of a year.

They are mostly “retirees who move to the region to receive the gross amount of their pensions and dodge Italy’s heavy taxes”.

One Italian immigrant, 69-year-old Catello Deiudecibus, moved to the Algarve in March due to the prospect of enjoying a “golden retirement” via Portugal’s ‘non-habitual resident’ tax regime.

The regime allows any retired person in Europe 10-years free from paying taxes as long as they haven’t lived here for the last five years. As Lusa points out, it has been enjoyed mostly by Brits, Scandinavians and French for years.

“Portugal has the advantage of being part of the European Union, there are no problems with customs, and it is a peaceful country filled with very polite and respectful people,” said Deiudecibus, who added that he is receiving double the pension money than if he had stayed in Italy.

Though there are many areas in the Algarve where Italians are settling, Olhão is named one of the most popular, followed by Tavira, Vilamoura, Vila Real de Santo António, Lagos and Faro.

Marina Nagy, who moved to Olhão just over a year ago, said the town’s Praça da Restauração is now known as the ‘Praça dos Italianos’ (the Italians’ Plaza).

This is because near it is an agency that opened around two years ago to help Italians move to the Algarve, and which fills the plaza with Italians on a daily basis.

Rozario Fazio, the Sicilian who runs the agency, says most of his clients are interested in renting homes in the region, though in the last year “at least 20” have bought homes in the Algarve.

Lusa adds that several other agencies dedicated to helping Italian citizens have opened in the Algarve and are “bursting with business”.

As a result, Olhão mayor António Pina said he is planning to launch a tourism office in the borough in 2017, in a bid to help people who are visiting or have just moved to the town, as well as to focus on promotion of the municipality.

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