COVID-19 Response Painted Portugal as a Top Relocation Destination: Moviinn CEO

James Muscat, founder and CEO at Moviinn (Photo credit: Moviinn)

Relocating to a new country can be a daunting prospect but if you have the right people beside you who can help you navigate the intricate labyrinth of immigration pathways, the journey can be exciting and the payoff can be immense.

There are numerous companies out there who promise to help individuals and businesses move abroad, but not all of them have advisors on board that have experienced the complexity of such a process first hand. Neither do they all offer the required services through a single platform.

Moviinn, a Lisbon-based company, wants to make sure that expats who desire to move to Portugal avoid most of the common legal and emotional pitfalls that many fall victim to.

Founded in 2015, the team behind moviinn has incorporated all the necessary relocation and integration services into one platform and pledges to support people and businesses “every step of the way”.

The company offers assistance in a wide range of areas, including those related to visa, citizenship, insurance, tax, real estate, job search, and business incorporation.  

Photo credit: Moviinn
Photo credit: Moviinn

Drawing on the knowledge and experience of team members who have collectively lived in over 20 countries, it has so far helped more than 1,000 people and businesses from 30 nationalities move to and settle in Portugal. The company has also taken part in drafting legislation aimed at migrants.

Another distinctive feature of the platform is its strong belief in the power of the community. With a vision to create connections that open up new opportunities, it has created formal and informal networks of like-minded locals and expats who have been on the roller coaster of living outside their home country.

Read more: High Potential for Social Integration Fuels Lisbon’s Startup Boom

In an interview with Via News, James Muscat, founder and CEO at Moviinn, said they put a heavy focus on connecting people who move to Portugal with the right people from the get-go as building an effective network can help newcomers “thrive”.

James has lived in several countries and is well aware of the challenges faced by people from different backgrounds before and after landing in a new country. That is why he is determined to help make it a smoother and less angst-ridden experience for those who want to take a similar path.

Display of Resilience

Moviinn was not left unscathed by the coronavirus outbreak, but its CEO believes that it will only increase Portugal’s popularity as an ideal destination to locate to.

“Getting through the pandemic the way that we have is definitely a sign of resilience. It’s a sign of what Portugal stands for,” he said, adding that the collective response to the health crisis proved that the country can handle such situations efficiently.

According to him, some other advantages of Portugal include the relatively lower cost of living, the friendly nature of people, favorable geographical position, a great pool of talent, and its vibrant tech and startup ecosystem.

“Portugal is definitely a place where people are welcome and can really feel that they are part of the community,” James noted.

He added that the government has already put various initiatives in place to help streamline the immigration process for foreigners who are keen to make Portugal their home.

“But I think there is space for new incentives and maybe revisiting some of the existing ones,” the Lisbon-based founder commented.   

Photo credit: Moviinn
Photo credit: Moviinn

Moviinn was dealt some setbacks when travel restrictions and border closures were introduced all over the world to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. However, James and his team decided to maintain their calm and focus on those aspects of their business that could still go forward.

“That was definitely a big challenge,” he said, adding that they concentrated on keeping their potential clients informed and updated about all the developments taking place, including legislative changes.

“What we had to do was focusing on services that we could provide and were still of relevance during the pandemic. For example, the international tax was a major focus point… We also focused on citizenship, which tends to be a more lengthy process,” he explained.

“We were able to look at the business and say ‘Okay, so 80 percent of the business at this point in time doesn’t make sense. Let’s focus on the 20 percent that really does make sense,” James said, noting that this adjustment taught him a valuable lesson.

Read more: Startup Lisboa: An 8-Year Journey to Promote Spirit of Community

New Reason

Asked if he thinks their clients will stick to the idea of relocating to Portugal after the pandemic is over, Moviinn’s co-founder said many of those who were in the middle of the process have decided to complete it as the situation improves and even new clients have approached them as they consider Portugal a “safe haven”.

“We used to talk about Portugal being a safe place, but it had to do with low crime rates,” he said, adding that Portugal’s handling of the pandemic and its efficient public health system has given foreigners a new reason to consider moving to the country.

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