Portugal maintains third place among the World’s safest countries

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Portugal maintains third place among the World’s safest countries
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Published: 3rd February 2021, 4:40pm
Updated: 19th March 2021, 6:20pm

A third place in the worldwide peace ranking is a testament of how Portugal enjoys a balance of unique characteristics that makes it truly special. Even more so, considering that 2020 was a year that saw a slight global drop in the average level of global peacefulness.

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is a report produced by the Institute for Economics & Peace (IEP) which measures the relative position of nations’ and regions’ peacefulness. The GPI ranks 172 independent states and territories (99.7 percent of the world’s population) according to their levels of peacefulness. In the past decade, the Global Peace Index has presented trends of increased global violence and less peacefulness.

In assessing peacefulness, the GPI investigates the extent to which countries are involved in ongoing domestic and international conflicts and seeks to evaluate the level of harmony or discord within a nation. Ten indicators broadly assess what might be described as safety and security in society. Their assertion is that low crime rates, minimal incidences of terrorist acts and violent demonstrations, harmonious relations with neighbouring countries, a stable political scene, and a small proportion of the population being internally displaced or refugees can be suggestive of peacefulness.


Europe is the World’s most peaceful region

Europe remains the world’s most peaceful region, despite recording a very slight deterioration in peacefulness on the 2020 Global Peace Index. The region is home to 13 of the 20 most peaceful countries, and only two European countries are not ranked in the top half of the index. Sixteen countries recorded improvements in peacefulness, with 19 having deteriorations. 

European countries account for 17 of the top 25 countries in the 2020 Global Peace Index, with Iceland being the highest ranking country in the region and also globally. Iceland remains the most peaceful country in the world, a position it has held since 2008. It is joined at the top of the index by New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark. 

In a year where the average level of global peacefulness deteriorated 0.34 per cent on the 2020 Global Peace Index, this is the ninth time in the last 12 years that global peacefulness has deteriorated. However, Portugal kept its overall score and third place without variation from the previous year, which is a statement to the country’s peace and stability. In fact, Portugal has been ranked in the Top 5 most peaceful countries in the world according to the GPI, since 2016.

Portugal has been considered by many as a great tourist destination and a very safe country to travel to, as it was recognized with a total of 27 awards from the World Travel Awards, and to live in. Being one of the oldest nations in the world, the small but respectful country of Portugal enjoys a balance of unique characteristics that makes it truly special. It stands as a gateway to Europe on the southwest side of the continent, welcoming people from different corners of the world for centuries. We’ve compiled a list of 8 major reasons why anyone should move to Portugal

Portugal remains peaceful among some European civil unrest

Despite being the world’s most peaceful region, Europe has experienced its share of political and economic unrest over the past year. While Poland has experienced public mass-gatherings and protests against the government’s controversial law that allows government interference in the judicial system, Romanian protesters took to the streets for months demonstrating against corruption, mass-protests also erupted in Hungary after the government introduced a new labour market law referred to by protesters as ‘the slave law’, and the yellow vest movement protests also continued in France, Portugal has remained with little civil unrest during 2020.

With the steady economic growth and the tourism industry boom seen in the latest years, many expats decided to choose Portugal as their new home to live and work in as well. Furthermore, they are also impressed with the country in general and especially with Porto and Lisbon, which came 4th and 5th in the ranking of the friendliest cities to live in Europe

The Portuguese capital city rose to 3rd place in the ranking of the best cities in the world for foreigners to live and work, in the Expat City Ranking 2020. Before this great result in the worldwide expat survey, Lisbon had already improved its ranking in the best cities to live and work, overtaking Madrid and London.

A significant factor for people that wish to live in Portugal with their families is to find the best schools with the necessary educational resources to guarantee that their children don’t end up losing steps in their education. Within the Portuguese education system, there are options that fit every budget (public, private and international schools). However, if the plan is to ensure that this education is in a multicultural setting, then international schools might be the best option. Moving to a new country brings a unique set of challenges, so it is good for the expats that chose to live in Porto, Lisbon and even the Algarve region to know that there are several educational options that allow their children to learn in their native language while also learning Portuguese.


Countries with a strong positive peace ranking have higher resilience to face challenges

Above all, the unavoidable Covid-19 pandemic hit the whole World actually affecting the average level of peacefulness. The Schengen agreement has been put temporarily out of effect and we’ve seen some European countries into turmoil, particularly the UK, Italy and Spain, countries that have seen their health services strained due to the Coronavirus infections spread across its citizens. The full extent of this pandemic’s social, economic and political ramifications is still to be seen. Furthermore, the relations between countries might still be affected by each country’s response to the virus. 

Facing this generalised uncertainty, the values of peace and unity that have kept Portugal together for its more than 900 years of history, that has allowed the country to build great infrastructures and communication paths across its whole continental and autonomous regions, the always welcoming Portuguese people that many expats and visitors have considered among the friendliest people they have ever come across. These factors are pivotal when making a decision to apply for residency by investment and why many investors are looking to live and invest in one of the safest and most peaceful countries in the World.

The pandemic is foreseen to cause several changes in how society operates and business is conducted in most countries. At the same time, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries with greater development in the Well-Functioning Government and High Levels of Human Capital Pillars have been able to test a higher proportion of their population for the COVID-19 virus. The GPI rankings report highlights that countries with strong Positive Peace have higher resilience to absorb, adapt and recover from shocks, such as COVID-19 and the ensuing recession. So, it is with this in mind that it is rewarding to see that Portugal remains in the top three places of the Global Peace Index, making it a positive factor for resilience and recovery after the pandemic.


The Portuguese investment in safety

As mentioned above, Portugal is a country that has recently attracted more interest from expatriates from all walks of life. The affordability and warm weather, as well as the recent strength of the healthcare system during the pandemic, are making the country popular for clients to invest. The economic development above the Eurozone and highly skilled professionals also make Portugal an attractive destination to do business, while high-end education and great quality of life attract families wanting to relocate here. This position is justified by the increased investment of the country in policing activities and organization between the several different police forces, including the Immigration Authorities.

Portugal is becoming more and more a residency destination for foreigners. This information is confirmed by the Immigration Authorities with the Immigration and Asylum Report, published on 28th June 2019. According to the report, the number of foreigners residing in Portugal continues to increase every year. For instance, during 2018 there was an increase of 13.9% in relation to the previous year, which translates to an increase of 58,589 individuals in a total of 480,300. And in 2019 this surpassed the half million for the first time in the country’s history. Internal Affairs Minister, Eduardo Cabrita, stated in parliament that by the end of 2019, there were more than 580 thousand foreign citizens residing in Portugal.

The lockdown period in Portugal, during 2020’s second trimester, saw an impressive increase in the Portugal Golden Visa applicants. Investments in May alone exceeded €146 million (an increase of 192% compared to May 2019 that recorded €50 million). Numbers released by SEF for May 2020 show that in a single month, 270 applicants invested €146.2 million, bringing Portugal back on track for a statistically normal year, despite the pandemic.

The country’s economic success can be credited to mainly tourism as well as its two “twin engines” of investment in Portugal: the Non-Habitual Residency and Golden Visa programmes. In recent years, people have been relocating to Portugal also thanks to the Mediterranean wonders the country offers, and the possibility of having the most favourable tax schemes in the EU. It becomes important to mention that Portugal holds one of the strongest passports in the world, and has the 22nd best healthcare system in the world!


The time to invest in Portugal is now

If you are considering moving to Portugal or investing in order to qualify for the Golden Visa with the present Portugal Golden Visa rules, our experts advise that it is better to start the process as soon as possible. The Portuguese Parliament has made it clear they no longer want to allow Visas in both Lisbon and Porto. So, between July 2021 and Jan 2022, these areas will cease to be a viable option for the Golden Visa.

By making sure you start the process as soon as possible, you will still be able to leave sufficient time to submit your application before the July 2021 date. In countries where certain necessary documentation takes more time to get, investors need to take that factor into consideration and prepare to start their investment process as early as April.

Portugal Homes Co-Founder and CEO, David Poston, addresses what we know about the changes that will come into effect in the video below.

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