Why are French People Moving to Portugal

A small country with big advantages: quality of life, cost of living and real estate investments

It’s no secret that Portugal is known for its hospitality and that it’s used to welcoming tourists from all over the world. What may come as a surprise is the fact that more and more people, including the French, are buying a ticket to Portugal not just to visit for a few days, but to settle down, invest and actually make a living here. So, exactly why has this become a trend and how is Portugal convincing French people to leave their home country and restart their life on Portuguese soil? 

Unparalleled quality of life

Living in Portugal has many perks and they start with the fact that it’s a small country with a population of only 10 million and there’s safety in numbers – according to the Global Peace Index 2020, Portugal is the third most peaceful country in the world. This ease opens the door to adventures and exploration and it’s a beautiful country with incredibly different landscapes, all stunning, all inviting. From some of the best beaches in the world, to the natural countryside and cosmopolitan cities filled with great restaurants and cultural activities, the French have fallen in love with the country, its great weather and welcoming community. The Portugal nightlife is another hot spot – the friendly locals also adore a good night out and share this contagious savoir-vivre with the French. 

The French community

The French community in Portugal has been consistently growing and is thriving in multiple areas, from cool new start-ups to cool new french-owned restaurants, cafes and beach bars. 

Part of this settling down is also linked to the existence of excellent international French schools, such as the Lycée Français Charles Lepierre and the Redbridge School in Lisbon; or the Lycée Français International and the Colégio Luso-Francês, in Porto, which is perfect for French families seeking a new life in Portugal, without letting go of their roots.

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Comfortable lifestyle with fewer expenses

The cost of living in Portugal is another factor that’s easily convincing the French to not only move to Portugal, but to invest in Portugal. In general, most daily goods, services and utilities are less expensive than in other European countries, which means there’s room for enjoying the good things in life – shopping, going for drinks, eating out, tickets to the theatre, concerts or sporting events, weekend getaways, investment in real estate… Some of the best places to live in Portugal come with some amazing real estate opportunities, an area that French investors follow closely. Which means that it’s not surprising that in 2018, the French were the top real estate buyers in Portugal, representing 28.2% of total sales to non-residents. 

The French are moving to Portugal for tax benefits

It’s easy to see why the French are so eager to move to Portugal, but there’s still one more very big, convincing argument – Portugal’s “non-habitual residents” (NHR) scheme. With the goal of attracting “high value” residents to the country, the Portuguese government created the NHR status, which presents a list of extremely interesting benefits:

  • Reduced tax rates and some exemptions for new residents (EU/EEA/Swiss citizen or holders of a residence permit) during their first 10 years in Portugal. 
  • Tax-free foreign income, including employment, capital gains on real estate, interest, dividends and rental income. 
  • A small 10% tax on foreign pensions.
  • Attractive tax treatment on investment properties.
  • Low wealth tax rates and only for properties that are worth more than €600,000 or €1.2 million for couples.

When all is weighed and tallied up, when moving to Portugal the French dramatically increase their purchasing power by 27% when compared to France.

The secret is out – Portugal has the French enamored. C’est la vie!

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