"Have you ever thought about working by the sea, in a tropical country, with a low cost of living and low taxes, right in the middle of Europe?" This is how some of the largest media outlets in the world are presenting the arrival of new visas for digital nomads in Portugal. From the Washington Post to Bloomberg, they are all unanimous: Portugal will become a new haven for digital nomads.

According to a report by CNN Portugal, new legislation published in the Diário da República, will come into force at the end of this month and will create visas that allow so-called "digital nomads" to live and work in Portugal for a year. To be eligible, digital nomads must prove that they receive at least €2,820 a month, four times the current value of the national minimum wage, which is €705 (and which should rise to €760 in 2023).

“Although it is a little late, it is very positive to finally have a legal structure. It will boost the arrival of more nomads, who will now have a tool to stay in our country for up to a year”, Gonçalo Hall, creator of the Digital Nomad Association, told CNN Portugal.

Lower taxes

The visa requires these workers to receive an annual salary of at least $32,760, about half the average annual salary of a remote worker in the United States. And that, as well as the Non-Habitual Residents regime - which guarantees some tax benefits - has led Portugal to become "a favourite destination for Americans who want to move abroad", according to Bloomberg.

The visa allows digital nomads to avoid double IRS taxation - abroad and in the country of origin. “With this regime, dependent or self-employed workers for high value-added professions have their income taxed at 20%, as opposed to the 50% that can be applied to Portuguese with the progressive rate”, explains Jaime Esteves, a lawyer specialising in Law.

Available for Portuguese too

The law, however, is not limited to nationality, since Portuguese people can also be part of this regime, if they have not been tax resident in the country in the last five years. But it's not just the tax benefits that attract these temporary workers. For the creator of the Digital Nomad Association, what moves digital nomads are communities “with a social structure in which it is easy for the digital nomad to be and have access to events”.

It is not enough to create a beautiful promotional video, it is necessary to build an infrastructure designed and dedicated to the habits of these people, which passes not only through the workspaces, but also activities focused and oriented towards these communities. This is what Gonçalo Hall tried to create together with the Regional Government of Madeira in the Digital Nomad Village project. “Nomads move a lot between communities and not so much between destinations. Co-work spaces are important, the issue of specific accommodation from month to month, which is medium-term accommodation, is also important. But above all it is proactive to create a community.”

Safe to live and work

The fact that Portugal is considered one of the safest countries in the world is a factor taken into account by many who make the decision to come here. According to the Nomad List platform, which aggregates some of the best destinations in the world for this community, Portugal has three cities in the top 10 of the best to work remotely, with two locations in the top three.

Lisbon is considered the best destination in the world for the digital nomad community, with excellent ratings in terms of safety, entertainment and internet speed, which offset the cost of living in the capital, which is considered high. The island of Madeira appears in third place, with a cost of living pointed out as being much more affordable. Closing the top ten cities for these workers is the city of Porto.