HR Strategy

World of HR: Portugal updates its digital nomad guidelines

Some countries are changing digital nomad rules as companies shift remote work policies.
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Francis Scialabba

less than 3 min read

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Traveling or living abroad without having to quit your day job is quite the dream.

But as countries and companies continue to evolve their remote work policies, one country is making digital nomad life more difficult.

Where in the world? Portugal has experienced an influx of foreign workers since the onset of the pandemic, thanks to remote work policies and incentives put in place by the government. But the policies, known as the “golden visas,” have had some negative effects, including an increased cost of living and Portuguese graduates seeking jobs elsewhere.

In response, Portugal began tightening its rules for digital nomads in 2023, according to AllWork. The country ended the non-habitual residency income tax incentive and, most recently, eliminated a rule that allowed non-EU citizens to live in the country without an employment contract, Fortune reported. The latest move largely impacts low-income workers without steady contracts, who were otherwise allowed to live and pay social security in Portugal before securing work.

Satellite view. Countries including Japan, Thailand, and Italy expanded digital nomad opportunities earlier this year.

This is happening as many employers in the US restrict remote work options, with 90% saying they’ll be in the office by the end of this year in a Resume Builder survey. That could impact how many workers can move abroad to be digital nomads, as the largest single source of digital nomads is the US.

Regardless of the new laws, some remote workers may be saying “adeus” to Portugal.

Quick-to-read HR news & insights

From recruiting and retention to company culture and the latest in HR tech, HR Brew delivers up-to-date industry news and tips to help HR pros stay nimble in today’s fast-changing business environment.