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There are now more than a million foreign residents in Portugal

The historic milestone has been largely driven by Brazilian, British and EU migration to the country
  • Brazilians are the largest foreign population in Portugal, making up nearly half of all foreigners hailing from outside the EU

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UPDATED: 29 May 2024, 8:08 am

Portugal is now home to more than a million foreign residents, according to the Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA) – a historic milestone for the country.

The number of foreign residents in Portugal has more than doubled in the last five years, from 480,000 in 2018 to 1.4 million in 2023. Foreign residents now account for nearly 10 percent of the more than 10.2 million people living in Portugal. 

Around 39 percent of foreign residents are citizens of countries within the European Union (EU), which guarantees citizens the freedom to live and work in any other member nation. EU citizens received around 12 percent of the 329,000 residence permits issued in 2023.

[See more: Portugal’s far-right is calling for a say in government]

The remaining 61 percent of foreign residents are non-EU citizens, who hold the bulk of the residence permits issued last year. Nearly half are from Brazil – the largest foreign population in Portugal – followed by the British. (The UK withdrew from the EU in 2016.)

Portugal is not alone in seeing a growing population of foreign residents. As of 1 January 2022, there were 23.8 million non-EU citizens residing within the EU, accounting for around 5.3 percent of the total population. The vast majority live in the bloc’s four largest nations: Germany, France, Italy, and Spain.

However, even with the inclusion of EU citizens living outside their country of origin, the percentage of foreign residents in Portugal, or the wider bloc (12.5 percent), is still well short of high-income nations like Switzerland (30.2 percent) and Australia (29.2 percent). 

UPDATED: 29 May 2024, 8:08 am

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