Interview with Igor Romanov: how a young IT specialist can open his own business and get a Portugal startup visa

Interview with Igor Romanov: Portugal startup visa as the best option for immigration of a young IT specialist

We at MoveToCascais love and live by our work. We ourselves went through the difficulties of immigration, so we immerse ourselves in the client’s problem as much as possible, help and support in all matters, trying to spread, if not straw, then a couple of blankets and a mountain of pillows. Different in age and character, they all become close to us, send congratulations for the holidays.

If we become friends, we occasionally spend a couple of hours by the ocean, looking at the waves and drinking pleasant Portuguese wine. So today, next to me is Igor Romanov, a young IT specialist who risked moving to Portugal under the “startup visa” program and launching his own small business.

Talking Personal
Interview with Igor Romanov: Portugal startup visa as the best option for immigration of a young IT specialist 5


Personal conversations

– Igor, thanks for coming. You promised to talk to me in detail about moving, working and living in Portugal. Let’s start over. You are a young guy, why go anywhere at all? In Russia, IT people make good money, if there is a desire.

– Everything is relative. At the time of the move, I was 27 years old, there was no permanent relationship with the girl, I am not going to marry. When you thoroughly go into the profession, there is no time left for anything, there is a lot of competition. Once I opened a website with vacancies, they put forward such requirements … To make good money, you must be a professional with a narrow focus and constantly improve and expand your qualifications.

– What did you graduate from?

– Tomsk Polytechnic. I did it deliberately, already at school I studied the layout on my own. I earned my first money for the site at 15. So my work experience is already 14 years.

Why Portugal?

– Why did you decide to leave and why to Portugal? If I understand correctly, there are very serious IT companies in Tomsk, with a good money supply for your level.

– I missed the warmth. I wanted a different life. To sit with a laptop in a sun lounger, savor wine, looking out at the sea. For me, the mentality of the Portuguese, their slowness is the most important thing.

– You could have gone to Sochi, to Crimea, to the islands … To Thailand, for example.

– Actually, yes, to leave and working for some large company remotely, lying under a palm tree for an IT specialist is an achievable reality. But I wanted my own business, I wanted to try something bigger. I have not seen an interesting niche in Russia. I didn’t like it in Sochi, and especially in Crimea, because the locals “are ready to strangle their neighbors in pursuit of goodness”. People live among beauty, putting off life, in their eyes only money.

It is different in Portugal, in Cascais. Local salaries are lower than in Europe, but they do not have to spend on heating and warm winter clothes. People are very leisurely and enjoy life. Among them are civil servants. It makes our people wildly angry, I don’t really react. Actually, this is where I leave.

– Do you miss home?

– Of course. I really miss my parents and brother, but they will come to me in August-September on a tourist visa if the borders are not closed due to quarantine.

– Tell me more about what you are doing.

Registered a company. I have my own team of like-minded people, some of them are former classmates who work remotely from Tomsk. To do business in Portugal, it is important to know the local nuances for business, so you need to “stew” among the Portuguese, Russian-language forums will not help.

In addition, sitting in Russia, getting a decent contract with the Germans or the British is unrealistic. I came to Portugal to use local realities in my work. It is easier for Europeans to open a representative office here than in the Russian Federation, but the locals are specific. They will promise one thing, but it will be done sometime later. Non-punctual. Therefore, “our” locals are looking for IT specialists among ours. Some investors from the European Union do the same. Therefore, initially, I was focused on B2B, possibly outsourcing.

IT индустрия в Португалии
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IT industry in Portugal

– How, on yours do you think the IT sphere is developed in Portugal?

– Portugal, and this is no secret to anyone, is a very conservative country. Many IT developments for ordinary residents of small towns like a personal account in a bank, obtaining a certificate, electronic registration are missing somewhere. Although all banks are linked by an electronic payment system. It is easy to top up a mobile phone account, transfer money somewhere.

I repeat: the problems mainly concern small settlements, for large cities, there are no such questions. For me, of course, the field is unplowed: take it and introduce it. But such projects require serious money. Now I’m thinking about it.

Specifically, the start-up market is growing, before quarantine they registered 4-7 per day. About 20-25% of vacancies are related to IT, HR, and management in this area. Large IT companies open offices in Portugal. Salaries are also pleasing – average time


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