Number of Bermudians moving to Portugal has increased since Covid-19, says lawyer
Bermudians are moving to Portugal in increasing numbers to take advantage of the European country’s residency options, a Portuguese lawyer said.
Judith Teodoro, a commercial lawyer dealing in succession, family law and real estate law, visited the island last week after noting a growing number of clients from Bermuda.
“I have found the increase more and more since Covid-19,” Ms Teodoro told The Royal Gazette. “Bermudians are looking to Portugal to have the same type of life they have in Bermuda.
“In my office I receive many requests for consultation regarding the golden visa and other options for residence – retirement, temporary residence, even families that keep their interests here in Bermuda but want to have other living opportunities.”
Ms Teodoro did not have figures for how many Bermudians have sought consultations, but she said the frequency had been enough to raise her interest in visiting the island.
The lawyer runs an office in the capital of Lisbon as well as in the Azores.
She spent her first trip meeting others in the island’s Portuguese community with Andrea Moniz-DeSouza, a lawyer and the honorary consul of Portugal in Bermuda.
Being of Portuguese descent creates opportunities for citizenship, she said, while the country has courted immigration and investment since the Great Recession and a “golden visa” programme was launched by Portugal in 2012.
The immigrant investment programme grants residency in Portugal to people from overseas who invest in properties worth at least €500,000, or create ten jobs in the country.
Ms Teodoro said significant numbers of Bermudians were of Portuguese descent and many in the island were already knowledgeable of the country’s way of life.
“Our culture is familiar to a lot of Bermudians, from the food to our festivals,” she said.
She said Britain’s 2016 Brexit withdrawal from the European Union might have piqued interest in Bermuda for other options to get EU residency.
Ms Teodoro added that the launch in 2021 of direct summer flights between Bermuda and the Azores – an autonomous region of Portugal – likely raised the country’s profile for Bermudians.
Citizens of other non-European countries are taking interest in Portugal’s low cost of living and channels to gain residency.
“The same thing is happening with people from North America,” Ms Teodoro said. “I think the Azores could become the next Bermuda in ten years with prices increasing.”
Perched at the south western tip of continental Europe, Portugal is part of the Schengen Area of EU countries that have dropped border controls – making for ease of travel through Europe from Portugal.
Ms Teodoro highlighted Portugal’s low taxation and high educational standards as attractions.
“Besides that, we have a wonderful culture and are very tolerant to newcomers.”
Ms Teodoro was born in São Jorge Island in the Azores and said she could appreciate why Bermudians would take interest in residency options elsewhere.
“I know the need because I am from an island as well.”