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The change in tax and residence rules for foreigners has not diminished British interest in moving to Portugal, said the director of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK, Christina Hippisley.

“We think there has been little or no change. Most Brits still consider moving to Portugal mainly because of the country’s quality of life, good value for money and outdoor lifestyle, rather than for tax reasons,” he told Agência Lusa.

On Thursday, the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK will hold the 16th edition of the “Moving to Portugal” event, a conference in London that attracts hundreds of visitors every year.

The popularity has led to two new additional meetings being held in 2024 in addition to the usual October meeting, one in the British capital for the first time in March and another in Dublin on April 18.

At the event, visitors can talk to real estate agents or consultants, tax specialists, visa and investment companies and foreign exchange service providers.

“People in the UK recognize the importance of moving ‘the right way’, i.e. obtaining visas and opening businesses in the right way, so they see participation in our fair as a key starting point on the road to change,” explained Christina Hippisley.

Last year, the Portuguese government limited access to the special rate for new non-habitual residents and to the residency regime for investment, the so-called “gold visa”, which attracted many Brits due to the end of freedom of movement in the European Union resulting from Brexit.

A data analysis of visitors in 2023 found that the main reasons for attending the fair were to find out about residency and visas (54.5%), tax planning (46.6%), buying a house (42.2%) and investment opportunities (37.8%).

Almost 80% of those surveyed were first-timers and 37% were planning to move to Portugal in less than a year.

Increase in “digital nomads”

In recent years, Hippisley has noticed the participation of a growing number of remote workers, often referred to as “digital nomads”, alongside the continued interest of older couples and retirees.

This new audience, he said, is made up of people who are “younger and family-focused, but with bigger budgets for property and lifestyle spending”.

Another novelty is that the whole country is now attractive for the British to live in, including the Azores and Madeira, instead of just the Algarve or Lisbon, so the Chamber of Commerce has decided to give visibility to different regions.

The Cascais Tourism Association will make its debut on Thursday with a dedicated stand, reflecting the strategic importance it attaches to the British market, explained the president of Visit Cascais, Bernardo Corrêa de Barros.

“It’s a vibrant market with high purchasing power. As well as being the tourist we’re interested in, it’s also the potential investor we’re very interested in,” he explained.

Currently, the municipality’s population is already made up of around 20% foreigners, he said, which has contributed to the existence of 18 international schools and three universities in Cascais.

According to Visit Cascais, the average value of properties purchased by foreigners in the municipality in 2019, many of whom were British, was almost 600 thousand euros.

Corrêa de Barros wants to promote Cascais as a “very appealing place to live, but also to invest”.

“By attracting new residents with very high purchasing power, you can create new businesses that generate jobs. This is the cycle we want to enter and have been working on,” he emphasized.

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