5. Go to Lisbon for a day

IT development in Portugal in 2021. The story of the IT specialist’s relocation.

Table of Contents

Portugal has been consistently ranked among the top 25 countries of the world. For those who don’t know, there are about 197 countries on the planet. Why roughly? Because the so-called “Third World” countries regularly move their borders, change their names, become part of stronger powers, then break away again. So the figure “within the 25 countries of the world” is pretty good. Especially for those who do not want to go exclusively to the leading positions, but want to get a well-deserved standard of living in a clean and not too populated corner of our Earth. There are more and more people who want to move to this country. But any place is designed for a certain percentage of population. Take for comparison two seashores, for example, the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. Both there and there the sea, and there and there under the water and on the shore there is life……The difference is so immense that, drawing parallels, you could write a whole novel…But today we are not talking about that. We will tell all the amateurs and professionals in the field of IT, what possibilities are opened for the specialists of this profile in Portugal, where our fellow citizens are massively moving to, and explain what to do when making a decision to move. Read carefully, and if you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask them in the comments.

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Why Portugal and why IT

What is Portugal? A country perfect for tourism and a peaceful old age with the money earned during your life? Yes, it’s a proven fact, but more and more young people are in the country. Our young people who moved here not just in search of adventure, but after thoroughly considering the pros and cons.

The middle age, that is people who have families, who are already settled in one place, who already have certain savings, certain property, also leave the country. Very well, but if there are more and more of our people there, then the competition increases? Yes, that is true.

But there is one profession in the world with which you cannot go anywhere. And it’s called IT. Something mysterious? Not at all! Maybe you or your relatives are directly related to it, you just need to retrain a little and supplement your knowledge. Shall we take a risk? At least finish reading the information and estimate your capabilities. Really? Then let’s go!

Why Portugal?
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Why Portugal?

Many people associate this country exclusively with relaxation. And can it be otherwise, if the opinion is formed solely by pictures, and the network put photos of the coast, with palm trees, etc.. A dream. But more often in resorts life is not very good. If our man sees a picture of the beach, he can not imagine that a kilometer away from the sandy beach begins densely populated line of high-rises, modern offices with a variety of firms.

What’s the problem then? The problem is that Portugal is terribly short of specialists. If you try to look for a job in Portugal literally trying to find it among hundreds of people like you or your relatives and acquaintances, there are no people like you or very few of them.

Yes, it’s true. There is literally a shortage of everyone in Portugal…from service personnel to management positions. Those who moved there earlier, emphasized the development of the beach tourism business, and for a certain time, we admit, it gave a good “harvest”. But, firstly, the people have had enough of beach rest, secondly, the competition is frantic, and thirdly, the unfortunate quarantine stopped the flow of customers.

What does this have to do with IT? Yes, it does. Professionals in this industry will be like heaven here. And with a million opportunities. Not specifically opportunities in Portugal, although there are also enough remote firms from the major global projects of world renown, but rather with opportunities with an office in Portugal. Do you feel the difference? Whether we’re talking about a local firmo, which produces news sites, or we’re discussing a platform with a country level (what to hide, if it’s online, or even several countries). And the most important thing is that we are not talking about what will be in 5-7-10 years, but about what is happening and is developing specifically now, this day, this hour, this minute. Do not waste time. Start thinking about the future.

Who has placed their offices in Portugal. Who is capable of raising your faith in yourself? Well, for example, Cisco, Oracle, Bosch, Mercedes-Benz, Microsoft, Volkswagen, etc.

That is, the industry is growing and developing, and if you join it in time, you can not only get into the right stream, but you can also “go with the flow” for many years.

Working conditions and taxation
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Conditions of employment and taxation

You know what the secret of Portugal is? Here the demand does not pay lip service but in fact exceeds, in fact exceeds many times, the supply. The country’s universities graduate about 100,000 specialists a year, most of whom are engineers with excellent knowledge of English. This is confusing. But the ecosystem is developing so rapidly that even this number of professionals is not enough, especially since many, tired of the quiet monotonous life, move to more active countries. That’s why the demand for specialists from other countries is so high.

The main reason for our compatriots to move to Portugal is salary. For us it’s great money, but for them it’s not enough; they would like more, that’s why they leave the country.

What sums are we talking about? Let’s look at some statistics. The beginner developer can count on 30 thousand euros per year (let’s say “dirty”). That is about 2.5 thousand euros per month. Not bad, right?

Why do they leave? Because it is high for us, but according to European standards of living, it is average and even low.

After working for two and a half years in the same place, you can expect a raise to 40000 euros per year, more than five years – up to 60 thousand euros per year.

And one more “plus” for ours. Are you familiar with the concept of the “thirteenth salary”? When at the end of the year an employee receives a bonus equal to his average salary? Well, here it is twice a year.

Taxes must be paid. 20% rate for all non-residents of the country +11% social tax. Once a year you can write a request to recalculate the amount already paid due to special circumstances (illness, home or car repairs, buying a summer house). Surprised? Yes, that’s the amazing thing about Portugal – here the state does not ignore people’s needs, but puts them first.

And one more secret about paying taxes. There is an interesting “loophole” in Portuguese law called “tax-free bonus”. That’s how! That is, if the employer decides to encourage an employee with a bonus, he can arrange it in such a way that it will go exclusively to the recipient, without charging taxes and other costs. Anticipating your question, we answer – no it will not come “in an envelope”, and quite officially, but will be spelled out that it is money for special needs of the recipient. For example, 3,000 euros for a trip, or 2,000 euros to buy additional food.

Yes, it’s official.

Yes, 2,000 euros extra for food can and quite often is written out by employers to their employees who distinguish themselves in their work. They actually write 2,000 euros for vacation on their payslips…It’s not a fabrication.

Yes, it’s a rule of thumb.

The only rule is that if it’s written out for vacation, you have to spend it on vacation, if it’s for groceries, you have to spend it on them. You can’t spend vacation money to buy furniture. Terrible bureaucracy (just kidding!).

How IT people live in Portugal
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How IT professionals live in Portugal

This country has an ideal climate for people who hate the heat and have a hard time with the cold. The average temperature is +11 Celsius in winter and no higher than +28 in summer.

The cost of housing depends on its location. If you want to live in the center and near the ocean, it will be quite tangible, but if you agree to live in the suburbs, the price is quite affordable. Especially since transportation runs on schedule, there are no delays. And if the regular bus breaks down, you know what happens? If there is a delay, it is replaced by the same bus, and you get a free ride or additional benefits for future trips. In every little thing, those who have moved here discover a fairy tale, they realize that the phrase “happiness is in the little things,” may very well have been coined in Portugal.

In every little thing, those who have moved here discover a fairy tale, realizing that the phrase “happiness is in the little things.

There are difficulties in communication. No, don’t get me wrong, the Portuguese are a friendly people, they are happy to explain even literally on their fingers what visitors want to know, in the extreme case, they will even take them to the right place.

But you have to learn the language. To all those who say that English is enough to live in Portugal, you can ask a counter question – and that in Portugal they learn English at school, or are they so happy to have newcomers that they are willing to learn a new language for their sake? No, of course not. English is as basic as it is in our country.

And it’s not going to be unnecessary at all. But let’s imagine a situation – you are a native of your country, you know your native language, and you speak English at school level. Would you happily visit a French person who lives in the house next door? Will you be able to help him when he knocks on your door? No matter how friendly the person is, no matter how much he wants to help, he needs to be able to communicate. And that requires speech in a language that both can understand. Therefore, we recommend everyone who is planning a move to Portugal to learn the language today. It’s an investment in your own future.

And IT professionals in Portugal need to know the language quite well. After all, their position and salary will depend on it.

But you can’t give up. If you have a goal, you need to go for it. Moreover, IT specialists are people who learn quickly and absorb information literally on the fly. So take English as a base, for sure you already know the basics, or you wouldn’t have the IT level, but start learning Portuguese right away or don’t hesitate to start right after you get here.

Obtaining residency status on a work visa in Portugal
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Gaining residency status on a work visa in Portugal

The resident visa in Portugal is granted to a citizen upon arrival in the country for six months. After 4 months of stay in the state, the resident already has the right to submit a package of documents to obtain a residence permit. Only at first he must prove that he is a useful member of society for Portugal and prove his financial stability and solvency.

Why? It’s simple. Portugal has a very well established system of social protection. That is, a person who has lost his job, has a full right to receive a benefit from the state. We are talking about an impressive amount, which is enough to support the family. Naturally, the government has no plans to pay everyone from the budget. The country wants to develop and grow, not feed the lazy. So, if a person finds himself in a difficult life situation, he will be helped, but if a person of his own free will stays in such conditions, then one should not expect any help, but rather expect deportation to his home country.

In this situation, the government has no plans to help a person who is in a difficult life situation.

So you arrive in the country, get a job, work hard, prove that you are determined, and you can get a residence permit.

To do this you must apply to the SEF. The processing time is very short. After only two weeks you can receive the documents. The residence permit is valid for one year. Then it has to be extended, but it is much easier and quicker than applying from scratch. After five years of residence in the territory of Portugal, a foreigner with residence permit status can apply for permanent residence status, and after another 12 months and to obtain citizenship.

From the moment the thought of moving to Portugal arises, immediately call-write-arrive at Moversaçais. There are minor nuances in the actual relocation to the country, major ones may arise in the job search and the execution of the contract remotely. We have been through many times with our clients all that you have to go through, so we are ready for any surprises. In addition to counseling, we help with paperwork, opening the right visa, getting tickets, assisting with finding housing, and finding employment. We keep in touch even when you’re settling in. We know we’re doing a good job, we enjoy your success, we rejoice in your successes. We just become your friends.

Grounds for residence permit in Portugal
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Foundations for Portugal residence permit

It is possible to apply for a residence permit for citizens who came to Portugal to work for a long period of time. This is now the main reason for both the move and the formalization of the status. This applies to those who came voluntarily, as well as refugees. The second category, according to human laws and principles, of course, are served and accepted more quickly.

Citizens whose spouse already has permanent residence status or are Portuguese citizens, wealthy retirees, scientific and religious figures, investors, as well as students and foreigners who came to Portugal to reestablish the family can obtain a residence permit.

The purpose of arrival is employment

To get a work visa in Portugal, you need to go through a standard procedure. The first, of course, is to find a place of work, conclude a contract with the employer, specifying all the conditions of cooperation.

The employer shall inform the Ministry of Labor of Portugal about the intention to employ a foreigner, confirm that the job is free of Portuguese nationals (these are the local rules), attach a copy of the applicant’s educational certificate to the application form, as well as a compulsory document of his knowledge of the Portuguese language.

In time (usually a week to 10 days) a reply from the ministry arrives confirming receipt of the notification. With it, the contract and a package of personal documents the foreigner travels to the embassy to open a work visa.

Complicated? Not at all. But without bribes, honestly, on time, and with equal fairness to all citizens without exception.

Purpose of arrival - education
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Purpose of arrival – education

Higher education institutions in Portugal teach in Portuguese, only business schools teach in English. This once again emphasizes how careful the country is with its own resources.

In order to apply for a student visa you must present a document of admission to an institute or university, a passport, a completed application form with your personal details, health insurance, a document of no criminal record, and also a document (attention!) showing that you have money to pay for accommodation and tuition. This is not a nag, not an obstacle, but only an insurance for the state itself. The system of social insurance is very well developed, but they approach the money responsibly and are ready to help those who find themselves in a difficult situation by chance, and not by their own will.

If it is a question of directly entering graduate school on the basis of the education obtained in the native country the student needs to have a translation of his diploma and grades (notarized), passport, certificate of passing Portuguese language test (level A2) or certificate of passing IELTS or TOEFL. For those applying to business school it is mandatory to take the GMAT test + a Letter of Motivation is enclosed with this package of documents.

What is a letter of motivation? Let’s elaborate on that question. A lot actually depends on it. Simply put, it’s a letter from a student to university professors that will help them make a decision about enrolling him or her in the university. Why? It’s an elementary way to stand out from the stream of competitors, to highlight strengths, to make introductions. Almost every university has a website, and you can find information about essays on it.

Tip. Pay attention to the number of essays the university requires. In most, one essay is enough, but there are exceptions, for example, Edinburgh requires two essays at once for their master’s programs.

To make it clear, you need one essay.

To make it clearer, here is an example of an essay. These are the requirements for a motivation letter at a university in East Anglia. So, “the length should be approximately 500 words. In the letter state the reason for choosing the education program, its relationship to future plans for life, your work experience, volunteer work or any practice, relevant to the future education. What knowledge and skills you plan to acquire during your education. What is your goal?”

But if you just answer all of these questions, you’ll get bored. So prepare to write your essay by referring to these questions as an outline. Make the structure of the essay in advance, and don’t forget to include an introduction and a conclusion. Sketch a thesis statement for yourself, it will be more convenient.

A sample outline:

  • Intermission.
  • Acquisition goals in terms of career.
  • Plan for achieving those goals.
  • The qualities that will help you achieve your goals.
  • What you need to learn, develop, learn in order to achieve the goal.
  • How the chosen program will help you develop to the level you need to achieve your goals.
  • What the university, teachers, fellow students are interested in you.
  • In what company would you like to work in the future and why exactly in it (if it’s self-employed, you need to write about why you chose this path).

Career goals for the next 2-5-7 years. They must be realistic, but not elementary, coincide with your life objectives and goals to improve yourself, your environment, the country, and even the world at large.Create a life and career plan, and then follow it not every adult experienced person, let alone yesterday’s schoolboy? In that situation, you shouldn’t give in, much less give up on your goals. You just need to honestly admit: “I want to work in IT and live in Portugal, so I’m ready to learn as much as necessary. I’ll do my best to reach my goal.

If this isn’t your first time at our site, then you know that when we outline the theory, we always tell you how it really worked out-nor worked out in practice for those who chose this path.

Of course there are real-life stories this time, too.

The development of IT in Portugal got a huge boost when the pandemic hit. Many people switched to telecommuting, and when they could go back offline, they found that it was more profitable to be at home if they had a properly organized work system. And, more profitable not only the company itself, which saves substantial savings in terms of household costs, but also employees in terms of comfort. For telecommuting need communication, quality communication, a well-established pattern of activity. And that’s where IT specialists stepped in.

Or rather, how did they come out: There were plans to come out. But there weren’t enough good ones. Specifically not enough. Even for the top companies. They started competing with each other, poaching employees, but the struggle-based activity only made the problem worse. And then an idea came up! If there are so many emigrants in Portugal, why not find out how computer savvy people are in the countries where they come from in the first place. And they did. We found out that the specialists are there, but there are essentially no jobs. It was a great way out.

And they put a new commodity on the job market, the “IT specialist vacancy.” To say that crowds lined up right away is impossible. But for those who were already planning a job change, it’s a good option to think about.

IT development in Portugal in 2021
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Development of the IT sector in Portugal in 2021

The IT market is developing steadily. Without jumps, which is not unimportant. Stability allows you to feel confident and not worry that tomorrow the profession will simply no longer be relevant. It is in this area that there is the highest competition between companies for the recruitment of competent professionals both within Portugal and among international companies. Professionals and talented newcomers in IT can always choose between “good” and “very good” for themselves.

This is not just words and our guess. Robert Walters’ director for Portugal said in his report, “We see a severe shortage of IT professionals. It has to do with the digital transformation of all sectors of the economy. Today, IT salaries are higher than the Portuguese average, and they are expected to increase over the next period.

The amounts in question are:

  • director of information technology, head of cybersecurity, technical director can have from 120 thousand euros per year;
  • sysadmin with no more than 5 years experience – 30, and with more than 5 years experience – 40 thousand euros per year;
  • The salary of a Big Data specialist is 45 thousand euros, and its manager is above 65 thousand euros per year.
Why spend that kind of money on outsiders? There is no one of our own, there is no time to train, and in order to train, you also need professionals….=a vicious circle. Very profitable for IT-specialists from former CIS countries!The Tech Visa program is designed specifically for them. Its purpose is to simplify to the maximum the process of obtaining a residence permit for highly qualified IT specialists, certifying companies that aim to hire professionals from other countries.In order to qualify for the program, the following conditions must be met:
  • not permanently reside in the EU
  • have citizenship of a “third” country
  • do not have debts in the country that is leaving;
  • have no criminal record (within the last year!);
This entire package of documents is submitted to the Portuguese consulate and will be processed within 2 weeks to 2 months.
Victor's story - IT specialist from Russia
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The story of Victor – IT specialist from Russia

A year and a half ago Victor Krasnousov, a student from St. Petersburg, came to Portugal absolutely by chance on the Erasmus student exchange program. The young man could not part with this stunning sunny country. Or rather, he had to go back to Russia, his visa expired and other things, he did not want to be a refugee, they are not liked here, although he did not want to leave so much that even this story the guy thought over. He flew away as if from a loved one, he was incredibly sad. And perhaps the return would not have succeeded, many subtleties, but he was supported by his new Russian acquaintances, already settled in Portugal, and friends in St. Petersburg, too, ignited by his idea and watched as he flounders.

Victor started not with the preparation of documents (not to return to this, we will say that we need apostilled certificate of birth in case of marriage in the country, and a diploma), and with a search for work. I polished up my resume, set up to do test tasks remotely, prepared myself for the challenges, exhaled, and sent applications to all the companies that needed an IT specialist.

In the meantime, I was able to get a lot of work done.

The responses came literally within the first 24 hours. The two-week probationary period was unnerving. They had to go through each company, then a management meeting and decision based on the results.

It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

This was the hardest part. No one demanded to be online all the time, no one rushed us, but it was at this time that I got the impression that the work was going in vain, that it was a waste of time. There was a desire to quit. There was. He didn’t quit, he clenched his teeth and completed all the tasks that were sent to him in the mail as a test. Doesn’t know how. Half of it was a translator, half of it was more intuition than knowledge, time was running out.

But he did it. And received three job invitations. Three official letters. He was shocked when he opened those letters. He printed them out and went to movetocascais. There it got rolling. The employees got in touch with the company representatives, drew up some documents confirming the authenticity of the invitations, helped draw up the visa, advised him to get ready for the flight. It turns out, dragged and dragged, and then spun just at breakneck speed. They say that issuing visas is long and tedious, but when the professionals from movetocascais are engaged, everything goes very quickly.

Already on the plane, somewhere above the clouds came the realization that this was not a dream, that this was really happening.

We met Victor at the ramp and took him to his rented apartment. They helped him get settled in and told him what time they would be arriving the next day. In the morning a new life began, the life worthy of an IT professional in Portugal.

Complicated? Can moving to another country be compared to taking a bus to the suburbs? Of course it’s complicated. Worth it? Absolutely! Emigrating to Portugal is not about fleeing your homeland. It’s a search for a new and better life, a way to a decent standard of living. So why waste time?

УЗНАЙТЕ, ПОЧЕМУ ПЕРЕЕЗД В ПОРТУГАЛИЮ – ОТЛИЧНОЕ РЕШЕНИЕ В 2021 ГОДУ

*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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