Portugal the ‘new Florida’

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A growing number of middle to upper class Brazilians are favouring Portugal over other traditional destinations such as Miami, Florida, to flee the South American country’s crippling crime, corruption and economic crisis, settling in cities like Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra to build a better life.

A report this week by Portuguese newspaper, Diário de Notícias (DN), claims corruption, economic struggles, poor public services and the country’s conservative agenda are a main driving force behind large swathes of affluent Brazilians choosing to leave the country.

Four years ago, the newspaper recalls, there was a general outpouring of Brazilians to Florida, where doctors opened clinics, businessmen built empires, and the wealthy made it their new home.

Currently, however, the report elaborates, those Brazilians are opting for calmer countries such as Portugal, largely due to facilities for obtaining documentation and visas – in contrast to US President Donald Trump’s increasingly restrictive immigration policies – as well as the language.

“Brazilians only recently discovered Portugal. They were fascinated by the US and only wanted to go to Miami,” Pedro Lancastre, director of the JLL real estate agency told DN, adding Brazilians now make up 14 percent of his clientele.

The newspaper says it is estimated that the Portuguese consulate in São Paulo now issues around 820 new citizenship permits for Portugal every month, which will go some way towards contributing to the number of Brazilians in this country rising from the current 85,000, to 100,000 in the very near future.

The amount in remittances being sent from Portugal back to Brazil has also risen, from $55.6 million in 2014, to $71.1 million last year.

Also, in 2014, the proportion of Brazilians that made up the overall total of foreigners looking for property in Portugal was six percent, whereas that figure now stands at ten percent. By 2015, 69 Golden Visa permits – which authorise residence in Portugal in exchange for investment of over one million euros – had been issued to Brazilian citizens; that number today, in little over 12 months, has more than quadrupled, to 282.

Renato Breia, managing partner at the Brazilian Empiricus financial consultancy firm, which recently opened a branch in Lisbon, said his company “strongly recommends investing in real estate in Portugal. It’s cheap, it’s in Europe, it forms a net worth in euros and the return varies from 5 percent to 15 percent.”

However, the report concludes the city most sought after by the Brazilian middle and upper classes is not Lisbon: it is Coimbra, where more than 10 percent of university students are from Brazil.

This, DN adds, is a strong indication that in the future the number of Brazilians and descendants in Portugal will continue to grow.

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