“In 2021, for the sixth consecutive year, there was an increase in the resident foreign population, with an increase of 5.6% compared to 2020, totalling 698,887 foreign citizens holding a residence permit, the highest value recorded by the SEF, since its inception in 1976”, says the Immigration, Borders and Asylum Report (RIFA).

The RIFA notes that the context of the Covid-19 pandemic caused “a slowdown in the growth of the foreign resident population, in line with what happened in 2020”, despite the growth of the foreign resident population in the period between 2015 and 2021 (plus 310,156).

Mainly Brazilians

According to SEF, Brazilians remain the main foreign community residing in the country, representing 29.8% of the total last year, the highest figure since 2012.

The document states that, at the end of last year, 204,694 Brazilians lived in Portugal, and the community from Brazil was also the one that grew the most in 2021 (11.3%) compared to 2020.

UK in second

The RIFA states that the United Kingdom maintains its position in relation to 2020 despite the decrease of 9.3%, being the second most representative foreign nationality in Portugal.

At the end of 2020, 204,694 Brazilians lived in Portugal, followed by citizens of the United Kingdom (41,932), 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 from European Union countries confirms the particular impact of the attractiveness factors already mentioned in previous years, such as the perception of Portugal as a safe country, as well as the tax advantages arising from the regime for non-residents.”

Growth from India

RIFA also highlights the growth of natives from India, which climbs four positions, now occupying fifth place, surpassing France, China, Ukraine and Romania, as well as Italy, which is in fourth position, “confirming the growth that has been observed in last years".

Immigrants reside mainly on the coast, with 68% registered in the districts of Lisbon, Faro and Setúbal, totalling 466,779 resident citizens, compared to 450,074 in 2019.

RIFA reports that there was an increase in foreigners living in the district of Viana do Castelo and, on the other hand, there was a decrease in Bragança, stressing that, in terms of areas of residence, there were increases in Lisbon, Vale do Tejo and Alentejo with an increase of 9.8% as a result of increases in Setúbal, Beja and Santarém.