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All about the Emigrant Support Office

Do you live abroad and feel that the time has come to return? Are you thinking of emigrating? The Emigrant Support Office exists to facilitate the process.

There are countless people of Portuguese origin around the world and for those who want to return to Portugal, the Emigrant Support Office works as a free and personalized support structure.

With one of the highest rates of emigrant population in Europe, our country has created this type of proximity service offices for emigrants in order to help and support them throughout the entire process.

So, if you live abroad and are now considering returning to Portugal or are thinking about emigrating, this article is for you.

Emigrant Support Office: all relevant questions

You Emigrant Support Offices (GAE) result from cooperation agreements between the General Directorate of Consular Affairs and Portuguese Communities (DGACCP) and the Municipal Councils.

These are support structures for Portuguese emigrants who wish to return to Portugal or who intend to start a migration process. – that is, living in another country, helping them with their reintegration and informing them of their rights.

Bearing in mind that 90% of nationals who return to our country settle again in the parish from which they left, the Municipal Councils and Parish Councils are often the most obvious points of reference for emigrants.

For this very reason, the involvement of these structures in supporting the return to Portugal is crucial, whether the person just wants to return to housing, or wants to study, work or invest in this country.

Basically, the Emigrant Support Offices are technically qualified to deal with matters such as:

  • Social Security;
  • Equivalence of studies;
  • Double taxation;
  • investments;
  • Applications for placement abroad;
  • Legal information and advice for those who are going to emigrate.

In addition to these, the Emigrant Support Office can provide useful information for those who want to live, work for others and create their own job in Portugal: licensing of works, licensing for commerce and industry, creation of business projectsamong other matters within the competence of the Municipal Councils.

So you already know, if you find yourself in one of these two situations and want to deal with a matter like the ones mentioned above, get in touch with a GAE.

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What is the mission of the Emigrant Support Office?

GAE’s mission is based on 3 essential pillars, such as:

  • Promote support for citizens from that municipality who have emigrated, who are on their way back or who are still residing in the host countries;
  • Answering questions related to return and reinsertion in all its aspectsthat is, social, economic, legal, employment, education, investment, among others;
  • Boost the economic potential of the Councils with the Portuguese Communities (in conjunction with the Diaspora Investor Support Office – GAID, integrated in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs/Office of the Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities).

Who can use the services of the GAE?

Any Portuguese citizen may use the services of the Emigrant Support Office under the following conditions:

  • Portuguese who are emigrated;
  • Portuguese citizens who have already returned to Portugal;
  • Portuguese who wish to start a migratory process, as well as their relatives.

And where can you get information to support the emigrant?

To obtain information or request support, you can choose one of the following contact methods:

  • On site (Emigrant Support Offices in each municipality);
  • By phone;
  • by correspondence (mail or fax).

How can it be helped?

These offices inform all Portuguese people about their rights in the host countries, support them in their return to and reintegration into Portugal, and contribute to solving the problems presented by emigrants.

And don’t worry about associated costs because they don’t exist: the service is free!

What types of support and issues does the Emigrant Support Office deal with?

So that there are no doubts about the type of support you can request from these structures, we have made a list of all the matters that can be dealt with by the GAE:

  • Monitoring of processes in all matters within the scope of social security. For example: applications for old-age, disability and survivors’ pensions; accident at work benefits, family and unemployment benefit benefits, occupational pension benefits;
  • Foreign, community and extra-community social security matters;
  • Vehicle legalization and exemption from car tax, in the case of permanent transfer of residence to Portugal;
  • Double taxation;
  • Equivalence of studies: recognition/equivalence of academic qualifications acquired abroad;
  • Status of non-habitual resident in Portugal;
  • General legal information;
  • Advice to those who intend to emigrate within the scope of the Work Abroad Campaign;
  • Investment: guidance for the creation of companies in the region, in articulation with the Investor/Entrepreneur Support Offices in the municipalities.

In addition, know that the Emigrant Support Offices promote articulation with other entities and institutions, helping to resolve other issues. Something that can be very useful for those who need to get in touch with other types of companies or entities and cannot do it alone.

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