Foreign residents in Portugal reached a record number

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Published on 16 January, 2023 • Last updated on 08 February, 2024

By Portugal Homes

Foreign residents in Portugal reached a record number

Portugal broke, yet again, the record number of foreign residents living in the country. Every year, the Alto Comissariado para as Migrações (ACM - High Commission for Migration) publishes the statistics report Indicadores de Integração de Imigrantes (Indicators for the Integration of Immigrants). In its 2022 edition, the report claimed a total of 781.915 people held Portuguese Residency. In 2023 this number has increased significantly, and now more than 1 million foreign nationals have made Portugal their second residency.
According to Instituto Nacional de Estatísticas (INE – Statistics Portugal) - 10,4 million people lived in the country in 2022. According to the latest statistics, this means foreign nationals make up more than 10% of the population. The ACM report also states that foreign-born residents represent about 14,4% of taxpayers contributing to the country’s social security system. 

Foreigner in Lisbon

The growing foreign population can be easily explained by the growing economic trends Portugal is currently experiencing, being one of Europe’s most attractive capitals for investment and living. The report further highlights the importance of immigrants in Portuguese society, and how some sectors would collapse without their contribution. Despite the country’s growing foreign resident population, it is far from being the EU country with the most foreign residents. Portugal remains in the 18th place out of the 27 EU countries, a list led by Luxembourg, with a total of 47,1% of its population being foreign-born residents.

In comparison, Portugal’s percentage of foreign residents may look on the smaller side, but it is actually on a rising trend. According to ACM’s report, the country’s immigrant population has been steadily increasing, especially since the last decade. In the last 6 to 7 years, Portugal climbed from the 21st to the 18th position, revealing healthier immigration movements.

The increase in foreign population reflects the country’s growing attractiveness, whether for investment, for establishing a second residency or both. The low cost of living, which contrasts against Europe’s other main capitals, attracts a larger number of expats, especially investors and digital nomads seeking a lifestyle upgrade.

Besides the cost of living, other key factors contribute to Portugal’s growing attractiveness. The country manages to harmoniously balance its local population and its growing foreign-born residents, which is reflected across many levels. For example, in 2023, Portugal earned the title of the 7th Safest Country in the world, according to the Global Peace Index. Language also poses little to no issue, as Portugal has one of Europe’s highest English-speaking populations. Residency by Investment programmes, like the D2 Visa and the Golden Visa must also be highlighted, as they grant Residency via favourable investment conditions, further attracting international investors to Portugal.

It is also important to acknowledge how much Portugal has become a great destination for expats, and digital and international investors looking for a stable and profitable environment to place their investments. Portugal’s nickname “The California of Europe” paints the perfect picture: amazing warm weather, stunning pristine beaches, and a trendy cultural scene, with the addition of being one of the safest countries in the world. When one also considers the universal healthcare system, the friendly local population, and the excellent and affordable public and private schools, it is no wonder why Portugal is the ultimate hotspot for foreign investors looking for the best place to invest, settle down and grow roots.

If you are considering getting Residency in Portugal, get familiar with the Portuguese Residency programmes that lead to EU Citizenship:

Porto, Portugal

Read more: 

The Best Places To Live in Portugal as an Expat
Best Countries for Dual Citizenship & Second Passport in 2024
Most Powerful Passports in the World in 2024, Ranked
Moving to Portugal and Living as an Expat Guide
20 Most Beautiful Places in Portugal


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