Everyone has problems and difficulties in life that can’t seem to be solved. I have had my own ups and downs in life, so I know exactly what I am talking about. I’ve developed one rule for myself: it doesn’t matter how hopeless the situation may seem. The main thing is not to stand still and try to find a solution. Only through persistence and determination, I now live in such a beautiful place with my family, and I don’t have to worry about my children’s future.
Today I want to tell you the story of Sahil and Harita’s, who also decided not to go with the flow and took a courageous step – to relocate and start a business in another foreign country.
How do I decide to move from Nigeria to Portugal?
When people ask me about our life before we moved to Portugal, to be honest, the first thing I remember is negative. Yes, I grew up there, met my wife, and opened my own business there, which I still do, but I always wanted something more.
To be honest, Harita and I have been thinking about moving since 2013. The country is a complete mess, the climate leaves much to be desired, and there are not many prospects, so why hold on? Only business was stopping us, but it so happened that this barrier also disappeared last year. Initially, I was not worried about the quarantine, but as it turned out, in vain. With most of the establishments closed for lockdown, we had no jobs left. Of course, we consoled ourselves that it would not last long, but it lasted for a month, then another month… Is it worth telling you that we were not even expecting any special assistance from the state for small businesses in Nigeria?
The result was the following: we either wait for the quarantine to be over, hoping that things will soon return to the way they were before, or try something else. Then Harita and I remembered how we once planned to go to Europe, closer to the sea and away from the stuffy, noisy city. So we ourselves have not noticed how seriously we decided to move.
Of course, initially, we had doubts that this idea would work at all. Opening a business from scratch, in a foreign country, without knowledge of the language… More like willingly throwing away money. Harita, on the other hand, was most worried that she would not be able to fit into the local rhythm of life. She had never even been abroad before, and then the move! However, we calmed down in time and decided not to act in the heat of the moment and study everything in detail.
How to open a business in Portugal?
When we first thought about moving, there were several options. First of all, we considered Germany – a perfect acquaintance of mine had moved there back in the early noughties. When we contacted him, he quickly dismissed all our plans. To move to Germany in 2021, much less to open a business there, we certainly could not afford it.
After figuring out what was in Central Europe, we decided to look for something simpler. We immediately discarded the easiest options – Turkey, Angola, and Lebanon (you can list them for a long time). We did not want to change the same country. And so, by the obvious method of exclusion, we came to Portugal, which seemed to us an ideal option: a warm country near the coast, a pleasant environment for business, and transparent immigration programs. Of course, at that time we were not yet sure of anything. To be completely honest, I had a lot of doubts about Portugal in general, but my wife insisted that it was worth a try.
True, we still didn’t know where to start. There is a quarantine outside, a tourist in the country just do not enter, so we put the idea of a trip to Portugal in a drawer and continued to look for information. Then, among the many forums and groups related to relocation, we stumbled upon the service MoveToCascais. Initially, we planned to handle everything on our own, but after learning the many different subtleties and pitfalls of the whole process of immigration, not really want to take the risk. In addition, for the registration of the business and opening a bank account, we were in any case, we needed a representative, so we decided to try and make an appointment for a consultation.
Already from the first-minute specialists from MoveToCascais reassured us – with a business visa to Portugal, you can enter without problems, even in the conditions of quarantine restrictions. In addition, it is necessary to prepare for the move now because all the most necessary documents can be processed remotely and do not go to Portugal empty-handed. For the first time in the past three months of preparations for the move, we have some specifics, and things are starting to get better.
First visit to Portugal, finding a room and new experiences
When I first arrived in Portugal, I honestly could not believe my eyes. I had a stereotype about a small, poor, unremarkable country on the outskirts of Europe. And how glad I was so wrong. The first impression was a bit ambiguous. On the one hand – a beautiful, quiet city imbued with the greatness of Portugal in the 16th-17th century. On the other – a modern metropolis where everything is created and, most importantly, works for people.
The first week we spent walking the streets of the old city, we learned about the local life and fell in love with this country without looking back. No fuss everything is clean and immaculate. And of course the people. The people here are very different from the typical gray faces we see every day in Nigeria.
However, we quickly remembered that we came here for a reason and went to Cascais to get acquainted closer with the guys from MoveToCascais. I personally found the town too puppet-like and quiet, but Harita was excited. In fact, I now realize that I would have loved to move to such a place, but to keep the business afloat, for the time being, we are staying in Lisbon.
The MoveToCascais office gave us a short presentation on what will happen and how it will be done during our move. It turned out that registering a business in Portugal is much easier than we initially thought. All that is needed to open a company is to draw up a NIF, open an account at a local bank, deposit the authorized capital and that’s it. Looking ahead – the whole process of registering a company took us just a week.
After walking around Cascais for a couple of days, we headed back to Lisbon to solve the last problem: finding a warehouse and workshop premises. As we work with wood, the demands were not quite usual, but on the third day, we found the ideal solution – 2 rooms of 80 and 100 square meters, conditions are ideal, all for a bargain price. Check everything for mold, drop off tools, work on cosmetics and we were all set!
I still remember our first trip to Portugal. Everything went just perfect, and my wife and I headed home. This time with the idea that we would definitely come back.
New life in Portugal
It’s been six months since then, and my wife and I received our resident cards just last month. Everything goes on as usual – I spend most of my time in the workshop, and Vika is settling in at home for the two of us.
The business, since opening, has almost paid for itself. Local guys who work for us have a sensible attitude to business, and we do not have any communication problems either. In general, I was surprised at how easy it was to get over the language barrier. I know English well, but I have never had any experience communicating with others. Of course, the first month was not very easy, but since summer, we have had no problem communicating with locals.
My relatives, who stayed in Nigeria, often ask me if I do not regret that I decided to move. My answer is always the same: of course not. Everything is much better here: the climate, the environment, the food, the overall standard of living. So why should I regret it? I am delighted here, and I sincerely hope that my story can inspire someone to take the same step.
How to move to Portugal in 2022?
Friends, the story you are now reading is by no means an isolated case. Unfortunately, the quarantine hit many entrepreneurs hard, but some were able to make it here in Portugal.
Why go far away. Just 10 minutes from our office, another of our clients, Shira, together with her husband a year ago opened a small confectionery. The reason was the same: her business in Turkey went bankrupt because of the quarantine, and all that was left was a small income from the property she and her husband rented. This was just enough to get her a D7 visa and open her own little place. Now things are very different. The couple opened a second establishment in Lisbon last week and are planning to buy their first house in Portugal by the summer.
Remember, nothing is impossible. Even if the problems seem insurmountable now, take just one step and you’ll be surprised at how much your life can change. We are happy to help you take that step towards the life of your dreams! Contact us in any convenient way, and we will tell you what you need to do to meet next year in Portugal!