More people are choosing Portugal

More people are choosing Portugal

LISBON: Portugal’s foreign population is increasing Photo credit : CC/Filipe Rocha

The number of legally-registered Portuguese residents who were born outside the country rose to 1.04 million in 2023.

Of these, 182,000 came from other European Union countries, while 858,000 were from outside the EU. This does not include the roughly 50,000 Ukrainian refugees who have been granted asylum following the Russian invasion.

According to figures from the Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA), an unprecedented 329,000 residence permits were issued in 2023, a rise of 130 per cent on 2022.

Again, as with the overall non-Portuguese population, the 38,000 EU applicants were in a minority, while most of the remaining permits went to Portuguese-speaking countries outside Europe.

In 2022, the last year with available figures, 31 per cent of Portugal’s non-EU population came from Brazil, while Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, East Timor and Sao Tome and Príncipe accounted for 59 per cent.

The Immigration, Borders and Asylum Service (SEF), forerunner to the AIMA agency which was introduced in October 2023, also revealed that there were 45,265 Britons living in Portugal in 2022.

As the number of immigrants, both legal and illegal, soars, together with those seeking asylum, AIMA is not finding it easy to cope with the influx, Opposition parties maintain.

The Social Democratic Party (PSD) said that breaking up SEF and relocating its employees amongst other official institutions was a mistake.

Queues are lengthening outside AIMA offices and with an estimated 350,000 cases still to be settled and more staff set to leave, the situation can only get worse, a PSD spokesperson said.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at