Foreign residents in Portugal: numbers increase for 6th year running

Brazilian community remains largest and most fast-growing

The number of foreign nationals residing in Portugal increased in 2021 for the 6th year running.

There are now a total of 698,887 official foreign residents – with the Brazilian community remaining the largest and the one that grew the most, SEF Immigration and Border Service reveals today.

This represents a 5.6% increase on numbers in 2020, and the “the highest value recorded by SEF since its emergence in 1976,” says the latest Immigration, Borders and Asylum Report (RIFA), cited by Lusa.

RIFA notes that the context of the Covid-19 pandemic caused “a deceleration in the increase of the resident foreign population” but that growth continued as it has since 2015.

Brazilians represent 29.8% of the total number of foreign residents, “the highest proportion since 2012”: at the end of last year, 204,694 Brazilians were officially residing in Portugal. The community is also the one that grew the most last year (by 11.3%) compared to 2020.

According to RIFA, the UK maintains its position as the second-largest community, despite a 9.3% drop in numbers taking up official residency. Even so, there are markedly fewer Brits in Portugal than Brazilians – just 41, 932 compared to 204,694.

Next in line are nationals from Cape Verde (34,093), Italy (30,819), India (30,251), Romania (28,911), Ukraine (27,195*), France (26,719), Angola (25,802) and China (22,782).

“The sustained growth of foreign citizens, coming from European Union countries, confirms the particular impact of the factors of attractiveness already pointed out in previous years, such as the perception of Portugal as a safe country, as well as the tax advantages arising from the regime for the non-habitual resident,” RIFA highlights.

The report also notes the growth in the number of nationals from India – which has risen four positions in the list to 5th place, overtaking France, China, Ukraine and Romania – as well as Italy, which is now in fourth, “confirming the growth that has taken place in recent years.”

Foreign nationals reside mainly in coastal areas, with 68% registered in the districts of Lisbon, Faro and Setúbal, totalling 466,779 residents (while in 2019 there were 450,074 in those districts).

RIFA reports there was also an increase in foreigners living in the Viana do Castelo district, while there was a decrease in Bragança. It stresses that, in terms of areas of residence, there were increases in Lisbon/ Vale do Tejo and the Alentejo – with an increase of 9.8% as a result of rises in Setúbal, Beja and Santarém.

With regard to migratory flows, SEF says the downward trend in new residence permits issued (to 111,311) has been maintained, with a decrease of 5.8% compared to 2020, “confirming the impact of the pandemic, already seen in 2020.”

Most new permits were granted to Brazilians (39,456), followed by Indian nationals (7,407) and Italians (5,302).

“The most common reasons for granting new residence permits were professional activity (35,886), family reunification (20,718) and study (10,919),” reads RIFA, highlighting “the strong preponderance of professional activity in nationalities from Asia.”

Source: Lusa