Why Do Many South Africans Migrate to Portugal?

The solution might be the Golden Visa programs

Migrate to Portugal

If you are South African, you may be one of the hundreds of thousands who are considering leaving the country.

The issues may be about you and your family’s future, the national economic malaise, physical safety after the recent unrest, or a number of other concerns. It may even be about wanting to retire overseas.

The question becomes, “Where should we go?”. To decide that, you need to consider your priorities.

Migrate to Portugal Golden Visa European residence permit
South Africans Migrate to Portugal
Portugal Golden Visa

The United States Green Card

First, while the United States is desirable for many South Africans, less than 2% of the 100,000 plus South African migrants each year get a Green Card, that is to say, permanent residency status. Nor does South Africa have an E-2 Visa program with the United States, therefore even if you possess the minimum USD 250,000 investment recommended for the program, you are still not initially entitled to even apply for this unique non-immigrant visa.

European residence permits

That tends to leave Europe as the second option, although given the lifestyle, it is increasingly the first choice for many. It has been commented that, in some respects, life for the affluent and educated in South Africa is like living in a European enclave within the country, because of this they often feel comfortable with a European way of life abroad.

A European residence visa also opens up travel prospects that South Africans can usually only dream about. Access throughout the whole Schengen region, essentially most of Europe, for 6 months a year, visa-free (90 days out of every 180). The quality of life, standard of living, and costs are also attractive.

The Golden Visa programs

Narrowing the options down, the Mediterranean states are the most popular because of the weather, prices for all the basics, and because most of them have accessible Golden Visa programs as a first step.

Further, South Africans are immediately eligible. Of these, Portugal is the most popular and we will use that as an example, although programs in Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Spain, France, Italy, and Turkey are also worth considering.   


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    Portugal is the coolest places to live in the world

    Time Out recently nominated Portugal and its main city of Lisbon as one of the coolest places to live in the world. Richard Quest on CNN also talks about it as “the capital of cool,” citing affordable rents, great entertainment and recreation, and a gorgeous streetscape. He also notes that with many new arrivals, it has “taken on a youthful, multicultural, and international vibe.”

    What does it cost to Live in Portugal?

    In terms of costs for basics such as food and rent, yes, Portugal is a little more expensive than South Africa, but it is still one of the most reasonably priced places in Europe, often by a large margin. It is also one of the safest places in the world, ranking in the top 10 on all 23 parameters, from crime rate to corruption, as measured by the GPI (Global Peace Index). By contrast, the United States and South Africa are not among the top one hundred countries worldwide.   

    Portugal is the most popular destination

    As Bastien Trelcat, Managing Partner at Harvey Law Group (HLG) relates, “With great government subsidized healthcare, education, and infrastructure, plus all these other advantages, you can see why Portugal is the most popular destination for many.” 

    Thinking of migrate to Portugal?

    The Portugal Golden Visa Program might be solution

     If you would like to discuss your situation with one of our professionals, please feel free to email us at [email protected]

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