Immigration in Portugal: Breaking Records since 1976

Portugal is becoming more and more a residency destination for foreigners. This information is confirmed by the Immigration Authorities with the Immigration and Asylum Report, published on 28th June 2019, by occasion of the Service of Foreign and Boarders’ 43rd Anniversary.

According to the Report, the number of foreigners residing in Portugal continues to increase every year, with an increase of 13.9% in 2018, in relation to the previous year, which translates to an increase of 58,589 individuals in a total of 480,300.

The Government justifies this increase with the appealing factors that Portugal has, namely due to Portugal being a safe country. In fact, according to the Global Peace Index, Portugal is currently ranked 3rd as the safest in the world.

This position is justified by the increase investment of the country in policing activities and organization between the several different police forces, including the Immigration Authorities. It is also considered that the immigration increase shows that Portugal is an appealing country due also to its growing economy.

The majority of the foreigners residing in Portugal, in a percentage of 81%, are part of the working population, between ages of 28 and 44; again showing the growing economy in Portugal, and 68.9% resides in the boroughs of Lisbon, Faro and Setúbal.

Brazilians continue to be the leading nationality of foreigners residing in Portugal but there is a significant increase of other nationalities, such as Italians and French, and also Bengali, Nepali, Indians and Venezuelans.

Portuguese Nationality Applications have also broke the record of the past five years, as more than 41,000 citizens have requested Portuguese Nationality in 2018 only. From the same, it has been issued 32,414 favorable decisions.

This increase reflects the amendments of the Nationality Law from July 2018 that opened the scope for Portuguese nationality acquisition. In fact, this amendment reduced from 6 to 5 years, the legal residency period for foreigner applicants to become Portuguese. The acquisition of nationality based on residency is on the top applications, representing 70% of the same.

The issuance of new residency cards in 2018 has also suffered a significant increase of 51.7%, referring to 93,154 new Portuguese residents. In particular regarding the Golden Visa applications, the Report refers that in 2018 it were approved more than 3,000 new applications, with a total amount invested of € 838,532,935.27.

Considering the increasing numbers and also justifying the same, the Immigration Authorities have implemented and continuously worked during 2018 in integration friendly policies and simplified procedures in order to be able to assist all foreigners in Portugal.


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