Praia de Carvoeiro (Inês Lopes/Open Media)

Portugal “fourth best destination for expats in 2022”

85% of expats say they are happy in Portugal

Portugal has been voted the fourth best destination in the world for expats, according to the InterNations Expat Insider 2022 survey.

The survey is based on the answers from nearly 12,000 respondents from all over the world and is described as “one of the most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, providing insights into expat life in 52 destinations.”

Trailing only Mexico (1st), Indonesia (2nd) and Taiwan (3rd), Portugal made it into the top 10 of the Quality of Life (4th), Ease of Settling In (7th), and Personal Finance (10th) categories.

Furthermore, 85% of expats say they are happy with their life in Portugal, compared to 71% globally.

Portugal’s best performance came in the Quality of Life category, with 24% of expats saying they moved to the country precisely in search of a better quality of life – the most common reason cited. And in this aspect, Portugal did not disappoint: more than nine in ten (94%) respondents say they enjoy the climate and weather (vs 62% globally) and 89% are happy with the air quality (vs 65% globally).

Portugal also ranks seventh in the Leisure Options Subcategory, with expats saying they are particularly happy with the opportunities for recreational sports (87% vs. 75% globally).

The country’s safety is another point of attraction, as 93% find it easy and safe to get around on foot and bicycle (as opposed to 77% globally) and 82% feel they can openly express themselves and their opinions – the most out of any country in the ranking.

The ease of settling into a new life in Portugal is another factor which set the country apart.

“I enjoy the beauty of the country and the relaxed way of life of the Portuguese people and their kindness,” said an expat from the Netherlands, while a respondent from Germany pointed out that “people are friendly and open”.

In fact, 82% of expats describe the Portuguese as generally friendly (vs. 66% globally), and 80% consider them friendly towards foreign residents in particular (vs. 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).

Say the organisers of study, “maybe this is why 77% generally feel at home in Portugal (vs. 62% globally), and 41% even feel completely at home there (vs. 30% globally).”

Overall, 45% of expats intend to stay in Portugal forever, while just 35% of expats worldwide say that about their respective host country.

But not everything about Portugal is ideal for expats. While the country’s low cost of living is hailed by expats – with more than seven in ten rating it positively (vs 45% globally) – the country’s low wages are singled out as one of its main issues.

While more than one in four (27%) expats in Portugal are retired (against 10% on a global scale), a large part of those who do work (64%) say they make less than $50,000 per year (53% globally), and 24% even earn less than $12,000 annually (18% globally).

Out of those who do work, 34% only work part-time (twice the global average of 17%), while on the other hand, 25% feel they are paid unfairly for their work based on their industry, qualification, and role, compared to 20% globally.

By Michael Bruxo

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