4 Things to Consider Before You Become an Expat in Porto

The locals are struggling, and it is clear. To become an expat in Porto, consider not only the locals but also the current economy expats are facing.

What to Consider Before Becoming an Expat in Porto

Porto is a beautiful city. Not only does it have a magical feel, but it also has a sense of belonging and safety. However, it seems as if everyone is considering Porto to be their go-to moving destination. Why is this a problem? As an American expat in Porto, Portugal, I would consider the following so you are prepared for the wave of economic difference. 

You are Taxed Highly [Becoming an Expat in Porto]

Taxes in Portugal, in general, are rather high compared to other countries. With up to a 45% tax rate on any salary of about $51,000, this has sent many expats away from considering Porto. 

Since Portugal is a country with one of the lowest EU incomes, the more money you make, the more taxes you will face. Including ~11% social security tax, you will see your annual income be much lower than what you expect. 

Is this a deal breaker? For many, not really. Many people move to Porto to get away from capitalism and start a simple living lifestyle. If you are someone who wants to live simple, with no extra additions, then Porto is perfect for you!

Pay Rates are Less [Depending on Your Origin]

Expect a lower pay rate if you are from the States, Australia, or even the UK. If you take a look at this graph, it provides a visual representation of pay rates in Portugal according to the Software Engineer’s salary. Portugal is one of the least paying countries towards this career path, which is wild… as I know many Portuguese who are studying to be in Software Engineering roles. 

Expats in Portugal Making Less Money Than in Origin Country

To live as an expat in Porto, you don’t necessarily need more than 20,000€ to be in rather comfortable living style. However, this also attracts expats who can work remotely from their country and still make triple of this salary. 

While the idea of this sounds great, you will start to see major taxes against your income, including if you have a car, a house, or a business; the responsibility is high. Many times, expats try to find an Accountant to help them with taxes, and you can find some great options on Upwork or through LinkedIn. 

All in all, sometimes lower pay rates in a country like Portugal are in the end, better, avoiding major tax deductions and overall living costs. Porto is simply a place to live simple. It is a great place to escape the capitalistic nature of many countries we all know. However, it comes with low pay rates and higher taxation. 

Job Competition is High [You Need to Network]

No matter where you go these days, job competition is high. You will need to network quite well to find yourself a solid job (if you are trying to break into the Portuguese market). Here are a few ways to start networking:

  • Find a Co-working space. Great for finding an expat community in Porto
  • Reach out to local coffee shops, bars, or retail.
  • Find communities on Reddit

These are just a few ideas, however, if you have any direct connections to local Portuguese, connect with them often, and for the love of everything holy: Learn Portuguese from Portugal!

If you are a remote worker, this may not be a hurdle for you, and that’s great! However, if you are an average Joe and just trying to get a decent job, you’ve got to work hard on marketing yourself. 

If you need assistance with networking or maybe revamping your CV don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

Portugal is overall slow on legal processes. This is something you will need to get used to rather quickly. Even with a lawyer, you have to understand Portuguese are not going to break their back for others. They are very independent and work only the required hours they have to. 

To get through processes faster, I would research and follow some forums about your specific case to see what documents you need or how others got through visa requirements and processes faster. You can follow subreddits such as r/PortugalExpats or r/Porto, where you will find some individuals facing similar issues.

Want to know what its like after a year in Porto? Be sure to check out my article one year as an expat in Portugal.

Charlee Anthony

Self-taught SEO and research enthusiast, I am an alien in all countries and a friend of many. I have been travelling all my life (25 years), however Portugal is my new forever home. As I fully delve into Portuguese culture, I also share my tips and tricks on how to live comfortably in a new country.

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