500,000 expats in Portugal : discover the top 10 foreign communities in Portugal

Brazil continues to dominate the top 3 nationalities with the most immigrants in Portugal, followed by Cape Verde, which was already in second position. The change on the podium takes place with the Romanian citizens who have reached the third place. Tax security and benefits, on the other hand, are attracting more and more European citizens to Portuguese territory, particularly in France and Italy. What is the top 10 foreign communities in Portugal? What is the evolution compared to last year? Lisbob, the assistant of expats in Portugal, tells you everything.

Discover the top 10 foreign communities in Portugal

Discover the top 10 foreign communities in Portugal

Brazil always on top


In 2018, the number of foreign citizens residing in Portugal increased by 13.9% to more than 480,300 people. This is the highest figure ever recorded by the Foreign and Frontier Service (SEF), according to the report on Immigration and Border Asylum 2018 (RIFA) released Friday.


Most of them still prefer the Atlantic coast of the country, especially the districts of Lisbon, Faro and Setúbal, where respectively 213,065, 77,489 and 40,209 foreign nationals are registered.

Number of expats living in Portugal

Number of expats living in Portugal

Brazil continues to dominate the top 3 nationalities with more immigrants in Portugal, with 105,423 citizens, which equates to a growth of 21.9% over the previous year. Cape Verde, which is already in second place with 34,663 citizens, registered an increase of 7.2%. There is a change to be noted on the podium in third place with Romanian citizens residing in Portugal, exceeding this year the Ukrainian citizens: 30,908 (6.4%) against 29,218 (6.1%).


There will also be increased presence of British, Chinese, French and Italian residents. For Italy, the number of foreign residents increased by 35.9%, with a rise of two places in the ranking, while France posted a growth of 29.1% and gained a position.

expats communities Portugal

Security and tax benefits attract Europeans


In its document, the SEF underlines "the particular impact of the attractiveness factors already highlighted in previous years by foreign nationals of the European Union, such as the perception of Portugal as a safe country, as well as the advantages from the Non-Resident Resident Plan ".


For UK citizens, who increased 5.5% to 26,445 in Portugal last year, the report highlights the consequences of the exit of the European Union, the Brexit.


The African citizens of Angola and Guinea-Bissau are also among the 10 foreign nationalities with more citizens living in Portugal with 18,382 (3.2%) and 16,186 (3,4%).

More than 41,000 applications of Portuguese nationality


According to the report, asylum applications to Portugal decreased by 27% compared to the previous year, totaling 1,272, while more than 41,000 foreign citizens applied for Portuguese nationality, which corresponds to a growth of 11%. %.


However, only 32,414 Portuguese citizenship applications were positive, RIFA said, adding that the majority of them were Brazilian, Israeli, Cape Verdean and Angolan citizens.

Here are the top 10 foreign communities in Portugal:

  • Brasil (105.423)

  • Cabo Verde (34.663)

  • Roménia (30,908)

  • Ucrânia (29.218)

  • Reino Unido (26.445)

  • China (25,357)

  • França (19,771)

  • Itália (18.862)

  • Angola (18,382)

  • Guine-Bissau (16.186)

"This sharp increase in the number of nationality claims is intrinsically linked to the amendment of the nationality law, as it allows for the extension of access to the nationality of origin and the naturalization of persons born in the country. Portuguese territory ", explains the report.


In total, the SEF has identified 1,839 foreign nationals in an illegal situation. Most of them came from Brazil (776), India (182) and Nepal (156) and were mainly detected in agricultural activities, restaurants and nightlife establishments.

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