Confinement leads to creation of platform for the promotion of remote work in Portugal’s rural areas

Rural Move is a new online platform that wants to encourage remote workers to move to rural areas of Portugal, by acting as a facilitator between workers, companies, and local municipalities. This is the first project developed by Rural Invest, a community of volunteers that came together during the COVID-19 confinement on a mission to revitalize Portugal’s rural and low-density areas.

Due to the systemic centralization of job opportunities in large cities like Lisbon or Porto, the inland areas of the country have been struggling to successfully attract and retain working people, thereby accelerating the depopulation of those territories.

This demographic imbalance has a negative impact not only on the big urban centers (increased traffic, inflation of the housing market), but especially on their residents, who are often forced to adopt a lifestyle that does not reflect their personality, only because that is where qualified jobs are available.

On the other hand, the current COVID-19 confinement situation has demonstrated that remote work is one of the major trends of the future of work, already perceived by the new generations as an essential tool to ensure greater flexibility and a better work-life balance.

It was precisely out of the conflict between these two realities that emerged the idea behind the Rural Move project, an online platform developed by the Rural Invest team to promote the mobility of remote workers to the rural areas of Portugal, by simplifying that process both for workers and local municipalities, with the cooperation of companies open to remote work arrangements.

To achieve that purpose, Rural Move identifies and develops partnerships with local municipalities that show willingness and conditions to receive remote workers and then promotes those locations on the project’s online platform in order to attract and refer potential candidates to the local offices.

The municipalities involved in the project will also be distinguished with a seal of “Remote Work Ready Town”, recognizing the quality of the infrastructures, facilities and services offered by the municipalities to any remote workers willing to live and work there, namely with regard to the coworking spaces with high-speed Internet access.

On the remote workers’ side, the requirements to apply are straightforward: more than 18 years old, eligibility to work in Portugal and ability to move to a Portuguese rural area within 6 months. Everyone is welcome to apply, regardless of current employment situation (remote work employment, self-employment, freelancing or business ownership), provided that that work or activity can be performed remotely.

Candidates who wish to participate only need to fill in the application form available at the platform’s website, in
Municipalities and companies interested in joining the project should also get in touch through the website.

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