Despite surging coronavirus cases in the UK last week, visitors (suitably masked) arrived in force on Thursday, October 21 for the first live Moving to Portugal Show and Seminars organised by the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK since November 2019.
Organised with just six weeks’ notice, the show was designed to begin to deal with the pent-up demand in the UK for information about how to make a successful move to Portugal, post-Brexit and post the chaos caused by the coronavirus.
In order to ensure a Covid-secure event – held at the Pestana Chelsea Bridge Hotel in London -, the organisers trialled a new, smaller format with less floor space and less exhibitors, although the usual programme of informative seminars given by expert presenters was still very much the focus of the day.
Despite the restrictions of the pandemic, over 250 visitors arrived during the day to meet the exhibitors and listen to the seminars, which covered topics like how UK pensions can be structured in Portugal, post-Brexit visa options for those moving permanently, and an investor’s guide to the different areas of Portugal and where to buy a property.
Ninety-five percent of the visitors had never attended a Moving to Portugal event before, even though over 6,500 visitors have already attended since the shows began in the UK and Ireland in late 2017.
Show organiser Christina Hippisley, from the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK, says: “There is no question that there is massive pent-up demand here in the UK from those keen to move to Portugal, which has been building post Brexit and during the privations of lockdown. Although we have had a lot of success with our recent Moving to Portugal webinars on different themes, with typical online audiences of over 100 people listening and asking questions, we also know our ‘movers’ really prefer to meet face to face with our experts and exhibitors.
“Now we have successfully restarted the live events, watch this space. We will be running a full live programme of Moving to Portugal events in 2022 here in the UK, starting in March. We are also investing more editorial and digital resources into our www.movingtoportugal.org.uk website, in order to keep pace with our growing numbers of followers on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and to meet the needs of our burgeoning online community.”
The Chamber’s recent research confirms that British migrants to Portugal are up 34.6% from 2019 to 2020 and there has also been a significant surge in Brits moving to inland Portugal.
The increase takes the total number of Brits who are officially resident in Portugal to 46,238, meaning the British are now the second largest group of foreign residents in Portugal, after the Brazilians.
According to Portugal’s SEF figures, the most popular inland area in 2020 in terms of an increase in British residents was the Castelo Branco district, in central Portugal, which shares a land border with Caceres in Spain. Castelo Branco district is now home to 1,252 officially resident Brits. Far from the tourist crowds, the region is peaceful and charming, with traditional architecture and a reputation for its olive oil, wine and cheese.
The island of Madeira is also attracting keen interest, with 1,342 Britons officially living there in 2020. That number is expected to increase from 2022, since, despite its popularity as a tourist destination, property there will still qualify for inclusion in Portugal’s Golden Visa scheme. With a stunning natural landscape, excellent cuisine and a traditional way of life, Madeira has a huge amount to offer. The capital, Funchal, is also delivering great yields for investors.
Portugal in general is looking good for 2022, as well. The country has just been voted the best place to live in 2022 in the annual Expats Exchange survey. Portugal’s “weather, culture, people, food, natural beauty and health system” were all flagged up by expats as things they love, and there was plenty of admiration for how the Portuguese government and citizens have handled the pandemic.
The Moving to Portugal shows are principally designed to allow those interested in a new life in Portugal to explore the country in greater depth.
The show on October 21 featured a wide range of experts, with guidance available from the likes of Edge International, Currencies for You, EQTY Capital, Blevins Franks and Émigré for legal, visa, tax, pension, investment, finance and lifestyle issues.
On the property front, Nomad Bay Residences and Goldcrest Properties were there to showcase Golden Visa-eligible homes, while Fine & Country Algarve offered a range of properties available across the country’s most popular region. Representatives of leading resorts were also present, including Martinhal Family Resorts and Hotels.
The event also provided visitors with access to information on lifestyle matters, with individuals such as language tutors and shipping agents available to provide on-the-ground insights into life in Portugal.
Photos: CHRIS RENTON PHOTOGRAPHY