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Full Guide for Living and Working in Portugal as an Expat



Living and working in Portugal is something many expats look forward to. The country is very appreciated for the warmth of its inhabitants, the mildness of its climate, the beauty of its landscapes, and its low cost of living.

But it is not particularly renowned for the dynamism of its job market. And it is mostly known as a destination for retirees in search of sun. Anyways, if you plan your adventure in advance, and find a job there, you will be able to enjoy a very pleasant quality of life.

In this article, you will find some information about the professional fields that are recruiting expats. And some explanations about how to live and work in Portugal.

Jobs in Portugal for Expats

Portugal has suffered badly from the crisis and austerity regime in the past few years. But the country has since recovered from this difficult economic period, although youth unemployment remains high.

Salaries are relatively low in the country, unlike elsewhere in Europe. but the low cost of living helps to compensate for this inconvenience.

If you want to work in this country, it is best to aim for the big cities such as Porto or Lisbon. Because they have the most job offers.

Among the sectors that might offer jobs in Portugal for expats, we can mention:

  • Call centers: mastering English and, if possible, another foreign language is a criterion for applying in this dynamic field. Recruitment is almost constant.
  • Health: there is a significant lack of medical personnel in the country. But it is essential to speak Portuguese to be able to address the local patient base.
  • Tourism and hotel business: tourists are fond of Portugal, so there are opportunities to be seized in this field. Speaking Portuguese is a plus to be recruited, but speaking English is essential.
  • New technologies: like everywhere else, this is a sector that is constantly developing and is always looking for workers.

The cover letter is not essential in Portugal, but the CV must indicate the equivalence of your diplomas. It can easily be written using the Europass curriculum vitae model, which is widely used in Portugal.

Finally, it is also possible to move to Portugal to work remotely as a freelancer. The destination is very popular among digital nomads for its very pleasant living environment.

How to Live and Work in Portugal as an Expat?

The formalities for living and working in Portugal to work are quite simple if you are coming from an EU country.

However, there are a few things you need to do to stay legally in the country.

Obtaining a Residence Certificate

It is necessary to obtain a residence certificate (CRUE, or Certificado do Registo de Cidadão da União Europeia). This document is obligatory and authorizes residence for more than three months in the national territory.

It must be requested within 4 months of arrival in the country.

The Tax Identification Number

Obtaining a fiscal identification number, or tax number, from the tax authorities is mandatory for many daily procedures.

For example, signing up with many services, getting access to health care or opening a bank account, and receiving income.

Other Precautions to Take When Living and Working in Portugal

One of the main precautions to take is to be well informed about your health insurance rights to avoid any unpleasant surprises. The European Health Insurance Card will not work for expatriation in Portugal.

If seconded workers remain covered by their Social Security system, this is not the case for those with expatriate status or for self-employed workers.

Foreign residents in Portugal must join the local health insurance scheme, the SNS (Serviço Nacional de Saúde). It gives access to a wide range of health services in the public sector, in exchange for a variable financial contribution.

In fact, many people who have chosen to expatriate to Portugal to work seek treatment in private establishments. This allows them to avoid the disadvantages of the public sector, to have greater freedom of choice of practitioner, and to receive faster treatment times.

To be reimbursed for these expenses, expatriates take out international health insurance. It also gives them access to a wide range of services.

The most common type of policy is the one known as “1st euro insurance”. It offers interesting reimbursements for their health care and can be customized to fit your needs perfectly.

Online comparisons generally allow you to quickly choose between all the offers and thus find the solution that best suits your budget and your protection needs.

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This is also interesting:

What countries should I move to? The best countries to move to are not the same for everyone! Finding the ideal destination depends first of all on what is expected on a personal level.


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