Portugal, including Madeira, is the latest country to formally announce a Remote Worker (or Digital Nomad) Visa. The new visa offers those who chose the beach over the office the ability to stay in Portugal for 12 months, without liability on becoming a tax resident. The platform for applications will be available from October 30th, 2022.

Even pre-pandemic, Madeira has been a popular destination for remote workers. In the last two years, it has cemented itself as a co-work leader in Europe, with access to high-quality working spaces, luxury accommodations, community, and events.

With its low cost of living, temperate climate and proximity to other European destinations, Madeira has grown in popularity as a destination, not only for travel but also for longer-term relocation and retirement.

Portugal’s new Digital Nomad Visa will be available to people who are employed outside of Portugal and are able to provide an Employment Contract, Proof of their tax residency and proof of their average income over the past three months. This income needs to be a minimum of four times the average Portuguese salary. or roughly $2,730/ €2,800 / £2,400.

For salaried workers, an annual salary of about $32,760 would suffice. That’s just under half of the average annual salary of U.S. remote workers, according to the jobseeker site ZipRecruiter.

Freelancers and other self-employed workers are also required to prove the same level of income, by way of service contracts, invoices, or other means of proof of services. (European Union nationals and citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Andorra, and Switzerland already have some residency rights in Portugal.)

In July, when the country was considering such a policy, Portugal’s deputy minister for parliamentary affairs, Ana Catarina Mendes, said: “Portugal is a country of immigration that needs immigrants, that needs and benefits from the contribution of immigrants to its demographics, to its economy, to its culture.”

Portugal has another comparable visa, the D7, that permits residency with relatively low-income requirements, but this one is aimed at retirees and those with passive income. The application process is long and normally must be done in your home country via the Portuguese consulate.

Portugal has become a popular country to attain permanent residency within the E.U., with its Golden Visa program that offers a path to long-term residency for people who invest a minimum amount within the country. It is not immediately clear if the digital-nomad visa provides a similar path.

Portugal’s digital-nomad visa comes as British and American companies are again pushing employees back into the office. But workers in many cities have resisted returning to the workplace. According to a study by the University of California at Berkeley, downtown activity in many major cities such as San Francisco, Washington and New York City in June was far below its pre-pandemic levels.

Meanwhile, many tech companies have remained fully remote. Twitter, Airbnb and Salesforce have allowed many employees to remain remote full-time. Coinbase chief executive Brian Armstrong said last year that the cryptocurrency company had become a “decentralized company, with no headquarters,” with its remote-first policy helping it “attract top talent.”

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Those tech workers — as well as countless other remote workers and freelancers — can take advantage of remote-work programs across the world, which have blossomed during the pandemic. A report on remote work released in June by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington think tank, said that more than 25 countries have created digital-nomad initiatives since 2019 when Estonia became the first country to introduce such a visa.

Madeira remains a popular choice for Digital Nomads. Business advice bureau and incubator, StartUp Madeira has partnered with Madeira Friends International Community Association, to help integrate the digital nomad and Ex-pat community with the local people of Madeira. They promote free events, inviting local businesses to meet with the Digital Nomad community, offering networking, Hackathons and other ways to benefit from the new wave of technical knowledge and experience that has landed on the island.

If you are looking for help with your relocation to Madeira, contact a member of the Madeira Company team today. From Accounting, Company Formation, and Legal and Financial Services, we are well-positioned to help you make your transition to Portugal as smooth as possible. Find out more at madeiracompany.com

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