Employment and life in Portugal. The story of moving with a work visa

Employment and life in Portugal. The story of moving with a work visa

Table of Contents

When the layoffs at work began two years ago, I didn’t think they would affect me. I had worked at the plant for more than 10 years.  I had worked at the plant for 10 years. I got the job right after university, was well respected by my superiors and held the prestigious position of chief engineer. But, apparently, things were not going well at the plant. One day my boss summoned me and told me that the plant would most likely be completely shut down. So I’d better start looking for another job right away. To say that I was upset is not to say anything. I had a family with two young children on my shoulders, and one of the children was constantly sick, so I needed medicine.

In short, the news that I might soon find myself unemployed came out of the blue. I was upset, of course. But my wife was very supportive, saying that she believed in me, and that in our family will definitely be fine. Then began the endless search for suitable jobs. But it was a small town, and jobs were always scarce. Of course, a couple of options or three appeared, but they were not really suited to me – mostly because of low pay. I understood that with that kind of money I would not be able to feed my family, not to mention the additional costs, vacations, trips to the sea and so on.

The solution came of its own accord. One day Yulia (my wife) got a call from a friend and told her that her husband had gone to work in Poland. After that I began to think about going abroad myself, at least for a while.


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The first pancake is a cakewalk

The first pancake is a bit tricky

After the example of my friend I also decided to go to Poland. I collected all the documents, obtained a visa and found a job at a construction site. At the appointed day, I said goodbye to my family and got ready to go. I will not describe all of my ordeals now, I will say one thing. My first experience of earning money abroad was not very good. It was a hellish job: I worked 12 hours a day, I was insanely tired. Yes, I made money, but at what cost….

So after six months I came home with the confidence that I would never take that job again. But not much had changed at home. I never managed to find a job in my city. I quickly ran out of money. So I went back to the way things were.

Attempt #2
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Try #2

While doing another job search, I came across an article on the internet about earning money in Portugal. Automatically I opened the resource and began to study the information. Admittedly, I was very interested in the prospect, and I began to gather information, as they say, bit by bit.

After conversing with my “fellow travelers” on various forums and chat rooms I came to the conclusion that I should look for an intermediary agency.

In the same forums one kind man recommended me to go to the consulting agency Movetosacis. It was with his help that he was able to go to Portugal, and there were no problems with immigration.

I spent another day leafing through the information and reading reviews about Movetosassais. I finally decided to write them. The response was not long in coming. I was offered help which I agreed to without much thought. They helped me in every way: found suitable job vacancies, helped me to sign a contract with an employer (this is one of the main conditions for immigration in Portugal, but I will tell you about it a little further), found housing and helped with the registration of the residence permit. Very grateful to the agency staff, I do not even know if I would have succeeded without them, because there are so many nuances, and independently an uninformed person, such as was at that time I, to cope with all of this is almost unrealistic.

My personal experience
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My personal experience

So, after all the paperwork was prepared, I hit the road. About what to do when I arrive in the country, I will also tell you later. But getting ahead of myself, I want to admit that I have far-reaching plans. I liked it very much in Portugal, I fully mastered the language, now I have a prestigious job, I plan to buy an apartment here in the near future (a small one at first, then I will see) and, of course, to bring my family here.

Portugal has excellent living and working conditions. I am sure that my family – my wife and children – will quickly adapt here and will love Portugal as I do.

Employment and life in Portugal. What professions are in demand?
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Labour and life in Portugal. Which professions are in demand?

It’s not a problem if you don’t have a higher education. Seasonal work is quite in demand here, which is especially true for those who want to come to Portugal for a while. Many offers of vacancies for waiters, drivers, in the service of tourists. For example, women can always get a job as maids in the hotel, while earning quite good money.

Yes, I would also like to say that the legalization of employment is very strict here. Therefore, illegal stay in the country is severely punished by law. Planning to work in Portugal, under no circumstances accept illegal work: everything must be confirmed by the employment contract, a properly drawn up visa and an application for a residence permit. To avoid problems, I advise you, like me, to contact a trusted agency. In my case it is Moversaсais.

Employment and life in Portugal. The story of moving with a work visa 17


Frequently foreigners are initially offered a minimum wage, which is necessarily specified in the employment contract. But if a foreigner is lucky enough to work at a large enterprise or an international company the salary level increases considerably and the specialist’s work is duly appreciated.

I originally worked for a small, privately owned company as an engineering assistant. Work in Portugal was not dusty, but I wanted more. Therefore, at the same time, already being in Portugal, I was looking through offers, and I managed to find what I was looking for so long. After my employment contract ended I landed a job at another company where the salary was almost twice as much. In addition, there were excellent career prospects, overtime and weekend bonuses, as well as all sorts of cash bonuses as incentives for good performance.

What should you consider?
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What should you consider?

A very big plus is being able to speak Portuguese or Spanish. International English can be just as important in some areas. For those who are not spontaneously planning to go to the country, I advise to study the language in advance, which will give a big advantage when looking for a job. By the way, language courses can also be completed in Portugal itself, but it is worth understanding that it is an additional waste of time.

I personally started learning Portuguese before I left for the country. I found a private tutor and took lessons every day. Yes, it’s hard, yes, it’s long, but believe me it’s worth it! Of course I had limited time, so I didn’t manage to master Portuguese perfectly. But I got some basics, I understood what they were telling me, I could, as well as explain what I needed. Well, then – practice, as they say, communication with native speakers, and voila la – in about six months I began to understand the locals perfectly and communicate with them freely. And speaking English, I’ve been speaking it since high school, so it was no problem at all.

To maximize your chances of getting a high-paying job, include in your application package if possible:

  • certifications of international standing;
  • recommendation letters
  • certificates of proficiency in foreign languages, which languages and at what level.
How to find a job? Practical tips
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How to find a job? Practical Advice

As I said before, the surest and best way to find a job in Portugal is to contact a specialized consulting agency. At least for me this was the most suitable option.

It is also desirable to determine the city in which you want to go to work. Perhaps some people do not have these priorities. I personally chose Porto. After reading a little information, I decided that this is where I will be most comfortable and convenient. And I have never regretted my decision. Also from the point of view of employment, Lisbon and Braga are considered popular.

If you want to be employed in tourism or in the service sector, resort towns such as Portimao, Albufeia and so on are worth considering. In general, I’m not an adviser to anyone, because everyone chooses according to their interests and preferences. Some people like small provincial cities (but, by the way, there are less opportunities to make money in them), someone wants to live and work only in large metropolitan areas.

As for the job search itself, there are three options. I’ve already said quite a bit about the first one. You simply contact an employment agency and they accompany you all the way: they find you a job, help you apply for a residence permit, and even find you a place to stay.

The second option is an independent search. But they, in my opinion, are more suitable for those who have already settled in Portugal, formalized their stay in the country. In your spare time you can look for something more attractive and satisfactory. Be sure to check out the official website of the Portuguese Employment Service. Not only can you find many relevant offers there, but you can also find useful tips that relate to job search and employment, current government programs and so on. A lot of information about employment can be gleaned from the local media, especially specialized media that publish job advertisements.

And the last, third option is to find a job through an intermediary. The method is extremely similar to the first option, but involves contacting local recruiting agencies. It is worth being vigilant and attentive in this matter, because you can run into scammers who will employ you illegally. That’s why you should apply to proven companies, and even better – on the recommendation of acquaintances.

Visa nuances
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Visa nuances

To be legally employed in Portugal it is absolutely necessary to obtain a work visa. It provides many advantages, as well as the opportunity to obtain a residence permit. The main condition for obtaining a visa is to sign an official employment contract with the employer.

There are several categories of visas in Portugal. If we are talking about a working visa we mean opening a type D or E visa, which also have several subcategories. They are issued according to the internal regulations of the country. With such a document you can work in Portugal for up to 4 months. Further extension is obligatory. These visas also allow to travel and visit Schengen countries without hindrance.

After the issuance of a work visa it is necessary to take care of a residence permit, which is given for one year, and if the work remains – is extended in the future. Having received a residence permit, you can also apply for permanent residence permit, for this purpose it is enough to extend the residence permit several times. Which, in fact, I want to do in the near future.

Now let’s talk in more detail about visas, so that you can immediately understand, what it is necessary to arrange. So the first option is a temporary visa. With it you can stay within the country for no more than 4 months. So, for example, if you go for seasonal work, it will be enough to issue a subspecies E3. If you go to Portugal on a temporary transfer and work here no more than 4 months – have to issue E2. Teachers who plan to undertake an internship in scientific or educational establishments should apply for E4.

The more common type of visa is D. It is also issued for a period of 4 months, but the employee also issues a residence permit for one year. There are also subspecies:

  • D1 – for employees;
  • D2 – for investors, independent professionals;
  • D3 – for teachers and researchers.
Blue Map of Portugal
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Blue Map of Portugal

Surely everyone has heard of the Green Card, which is valid in the Americas. Well, it exists in Europe too, only it’s called the “Blue Card”. By the way, I personally learned about it only when I arrived in Portugal, before that, frankly, I did not know about the Blue Card. It is issued for the purpose of attracting highly qualified specialists. In fact, such a card provides a residence permit, by which a person can freely reside on the territory of the EU country and work.

There is, however, one nuance. Every year each country that has such cards determines how many of them can be issued. Not everyone can get a Blue Card, but only those who meet certain requirements. The basic conditions of the program are as follows:

  • Presence of a residency visa
  • absence of any offenses
  • residence in Portugal;
  • a presence of a certain amount of money necessary for residence (how much – I will not say, because I do not know this information)
  • no criminal record.
You must still be on the country’s social security system, and you must also have an NISS number.

With regard to the list of documents that need to be collected to get a blue card, I can’t say exactly either, there may have been some changes since I researched the issue. At that time two passport photos, a residency visa (valid for sure), proof of identity, proof of residency, an employment contract, and a certificate of no criminal record were required. Also, in my opinion, medical insurance is required, document of your qualifications.

In my opinion.

If you are applying for a Blue Card, you can either apply directly to the person for whom it is being issued, or you can apply directly to your employer. But the presence of the person for whom the visa is being opened is a prerequisite, because biometrics will be collected.

The person for whom the visa is being opened is required to be present.

You can apply at any immigration office, but note that you must sign up in advance. Once the application is submitted, the service reviews the petition and gives its official written response within two months.

I want to tell you

What I want to say: my personal opinion is that getting a blue card in Portugal is especially relevant for those who already have one in other EU countries and are dreaming of moving to Portugal. So, if you already have such a card, you have every right to request it in Portugal, and to apply for it within a month from the date of entry into the country.

How do I get a residence permit and what does it entail?
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How do I get a residence permit and what does it get me?

Living and working legally in Portugal is only possible if you have a residence permit. As I said, it is issued for one year, but after this time can be extended.  Having a residence card opens up many advantages for foreigners in Portugal. In fact, you get the same rights as local citizens. True, you can not participate in elections, but I think this will not upset anyone too much. Well, if you really want, you have to move to the country for permanent residence and get a passport of citizen, in which case all doors and possibilities will be open to you.

I want to share my thoughts on what gives Portugal residence permit. And this is not a small thing!  First of all – the confidence in the future. By the way, did you know that Portugal is in the top 4 safest countries in the world? Neither did I, and it turns out that it is true. That is why it is very comfortable to live here with family and children.

If you have a residence permit, you can freely use the medical services. And they, I must say, are at a high level in this country. The doctors are qualified, they constantly undergo training courses, improve their knowledge, introduce innovative methods of diagnosis and treatment.

In addition, if you have a residence permit, you can move the family here, which, in fact, I plan to do in the near future. After living in Portugal for six years it is possible to apply for citizenship and obtain an EU passport.

With a residence permit it is possible to take loans from local banks, register a company, purchase a business, obtain a driver’s license and so on. In short, a residence permit really opens up a lot of opportunities.

There are several types of residence permits in Portugal, which are issued for different purposes:

  1. For study. With this type I am least familiar, because I did not have a goal to study in this country. But as far as I know, in order to get it, you need to have certificates proving the availability of funds for studying, as well as a document of enrollment in the university.
  2. For employment. This is actually my option. You must have a work permit (issued for six months, then renewed), tax code, and social security number.
  3. To start a business. To start a business, it’s necessary to register the company name, get an identification card, then follow the established rules. Those who want to open their own business in Portugal, it is better to consult a lawyer to do everything correctly.
  4. Family reunification. Here there is a very fine line. And, for example, if you have a cousin of a third cousin aunt living in Portugal – you will not be able to move. To apply for a residence permit may be children, spouse resident, brothers and sisters (if they are dependents), as well as parents who are over 65 years. Another condition is the availability of housing in which all family members will be comfortable.
  5. Golden visa. This option, as I call it, for the wealthiest foreigners. Here everything is very simple: to get a residence permit, you must make a capital investment – a monetary investment of 250 thousand euros, if the contribution is made in the arts. 350 thousand euros can be invested in science, 500 thousand euros to buy shares. It is also possible to buy real estate in Portugal, its value must not be less than 350 thousand euros.
Some important nuances
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Some important nuances

It’s only natural that a person who goes to a foreign country to work is worried. Personally, I found myself not knowing what to take with me. Of course, I understood that everything I need can be bought locally. But still as if in a stupor.

Living in Portugal for some time, I can say with certainty that the first thing you need here is comfortable and comfortable shoes, preferably sports shoes. The fact that most of the roads in Portugal are paved with cobblestones, so it’s worth taking this into account.

When it comes to clothing, it is better to take a couple of warm sets with you, because there is no heating in the houses, and from the ocean can blow very cool wind. Also take care of the most basic medications. I got so stressed out at the airport that I had a crazy headache, and I didn’t have a single pill handy. Basically all medications are available on prescription, and you can go to the doctor only after you have all the documents and make medical insurance. And do not run straight to the doctor, that’s for sure. So it’s better to take with you enterosorbents, painkillers, provivovirus and antihistamines. Of course, if you need to constantly take some medicine, do not forget to stock up on them.

After the flight: what to do?
Employment and life in Portugal. The story of moving with a work visa 24

After Arrival: What to Do?

As promised at the beginning, I’ll talk about how to behave as soon as you arrive in the country. The first thing you need to do is passport control. There you will be asked for a migration card (it must always be filled out) and some other documents that are required in order to enter the territory of Portugal and stay in the country legally.

By the way, the migration card is issued by the staff of the crew in which you are flying. There are also forms at the airport where you arrive. But it is better to fill in the document during the flight, at least it was more convenient for me, and, I admit, it is safer.

What else should you consider? A few words about money. The national currency of Portugal is the euro, it is best to exchange it in your country, because it would be more profitable. In addition, the money can be put on a card which is convenient to pay in stores.

Those are actually the most basic things to know immediately after you arrive in Portugal. Perhaps things are different for someone else, but for me personally it was like this. Yes, I forgot to mention that there was a representative of the company I was supposed to start working for waiting for me at the exit of the airport. Again, the meeting and all the nuances were arranged by Movetosacis staff. Of course I was a little worried that something could go wrong, that I would not be met. What to do in this case? But, fortunately, everything worked out exactly as I was promised in the counseling center. There were no problems at passport control or customs. Moreover, I was clearly instructed on how to behave, what you can take with you, what not to.

Future plans
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Future Plans

As I mentioned, I plan to take my entire family – my wife and kids – to Portugal soon. My business is going more than well, I work in a prestigious company, I have quite a solid and well-paid position. I send money to my family every month, while saving a certain amount for an apartment. I’ve even looked at a couple of good options.

When I brought up the idea of my family moving in with me, my wife was very confused. But before long she agreed. My words about how nice it is here and what conditions are created for the children helped a lot. Of course, they are still small, the eldest is going to school in a year, the youngest is not yet in kindergarten. But I think the children will adapt quickly.

I wholeheartedly advise anyone who is still thinking and deciding where to go to work to earn money to consider Portugal as the main option. Moreover, I have many things to compare it with (I mean my unsuccessful experience in Poland). There are really comfortable conditions for foreigners, the locals are very friendly. And if you have higher education and you are a valuable specialist, then all doors are open to you. Prospects in Portugal are really a lot. Whether or not you take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to change your life for the better (and the lives of your loved ones) is up to you.

I want to emphasize once again that in this country you should go only to legal employment. Well, in order to avoid getting into trouble, and if you are not confident in your own abilities, it is better to turn to a specialized consulting agency Movetocassais, as I did in my time. Good luck to everyone!


*Материал отражает историю героя статьи в интерпретации автора; относительно описанных методов и процессов при получении ВНЖ – они могут не совпадать с реальным мнением редакции MoveToCascais по этому поводу. 

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