3 reasons why Lisbon is booming

words Al Woods

After a few years as the new European home of choice for millennials, it would seem that Berlin’s bubble has burst.

While the number of Brits in the city increased by 79% between 2000 and 2016, last year’s Nestpick survey of the best cities for millennials saw Amsterdam ranked top, with Berlin nestled at number two. One particularly unexpected entry in the top 5, however, was the Portuguese capital Lisbon.

Lisbon’s high placement on the list may be particularly surprising considering how hard the capital was hit during the financial crisis; in 2012, the city’s economy shrank by 3.2%, and nearly two-fifths of young people were unemployed. Following bailouts and a change in government, the city has recovered spectacularly, with a majorly reduced rate of unemployment and an influx of millennials who had abandoned the city during the crash.

But why Lisbon and why now? It isn’t just the economy that’s driving people there. Here are three significant reasons why people are flocking to live and work in the capital.


Lisbon has a thriving start-up scene

According to the most recent World Economic Forum survey, nearly 80% of young people believe that technology is “creating jobs”, and there are few places where the tech sector is driving expansion of the job market like Lisbon. Government funding has offered major incentives for start-ups in the capital, with the annual global Web Summit being held there since 2016.

Lisbon is also armed with a number of start-up incubators, such as Startup Lisboa, and the Beato Creative Hub, a soon-to-be 100,000 square metre campus which is set to dwarf Paris’s thriving Station F. Wired listed a number of Portuguese start-ups and incubators in its 2016 list of the continent’s Hottest Startups and, in the wake of Brexit, British tech workers are flocking to the city.

Portugal offers a residency programme for entrepreneurs

One of the benefits for entrepreneurs moving to Lisbon is its Golden Residence Visa. Applicants can apply for Portuguese residence, and ultimately permanent residence and citizenship. The Golden Residence Visa is available to those who create at least ten jobs in Portugal, invest at least a million euros, or purchase real estate to the tune of half a million euros. Applicants can apply for permanent residence five years after making their initial investment, and for citizenship one year after the grant of permanent residence.

As residents of the Schengen area, Portuguese residents can enjoy visa-free travel across all Schengen member states. Consequently, entrepreneurs moving to Lisbon as part of this residency scheme can travel across the continent to acquire European talent for their company, as has been the case for most start-ups operating out of the capital in recent years.

Entrepreneurs who want to obtain a fast, permanent solution to their mobility difficulties can consider applying for Portugal’s Golden Visa provided they have created at least ten jobs in the country over a period of five years.

As a member of the Schengen area, Portuguese citizens can enjoy visa-free travel between all other member states. Consequently, entrepreneurs moving to Lisbon as part of this residency scheme can travel across the continent to acquire European talent for their company, as has been the case for most startups operating out of the capital in recent years.

Lisbon has Europe’s best quality of life

One of the other benefits of living in Lisbon is its quality of life; whereas Berlin is achingly cool in both temperament and temperature, the Portuguese capital is as sunny as it is affordable. Indeed, according to last year’s InterNations Expat Insider survey, Portugal offers the best quality of life to expats, beating out former winner Taiwan for its warm weather and overall happiness levels.

Over the course of 2017, the internet became littered with many articles about why millennials are leaving home behind and setting up shop in Lisbon, much like when Berlin was hitting its peak, citing the “generally calm and chilled vibe” of the city. The city has also developed a thriving arts and culture scene, no doubt aided by its “enviable tax situation” and extremely affordable rent.

So, if you missed out on moving to Berlin whilst it was still trendy to do so, it’s possible that the warmer climates of Lisbon won’t just be more financially rewarding, but better for your wallet and wellbeing as well.



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