People who used to spend four months straight in their homes are suddenly realising they can’t anymore. (...) Many Brits who had never thought about it are looking at the golden visa option to have unrestricted access to Portugal ", she told Lusa.

Since the entry into force of Brexit, on 1 January 2021, British citizens no longer have freedom of movement and can only spend 90 days in the European space in a period of 180 days. The Residence Permit for Investment (ARI), known as the golden visa, allows foreign holders and family members to remain in Portugal for an indefinite period and unlimited mobility in the 26 countries of the European Union that are members of the Schengen zone.

According to Hippisley, an estimated 60,000 properties in Portugal are owned by Brits, and many will have been affected by these new rules as they have no immediate plans to leave the UK for personal or professional reasons. "People who don't want to move permanently are in an uncertain situation and are looking at the golden visa option, whether buying real estate or investing in a compatible investment fund," she said.

The number of British residents in Portugal has almost doubled in four years, from 22,431 registered in 2017 to 42,071 in 2021, according to figures from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).