In 2019, more than 180,000 foreigners obtained Portuguese nationality, more than double the number of babies born in Portugal (81,351) over the same period. The number is a record high and reflects the growing impact of the current immigration legislation that has increasingly opened the country’s doors to migrants. The majority of applicants come from Brazil, Cape Verde and Israel. On average, there are almost 15,000 foreigners per month who are approved for Portuguese nationality.
Many French, English and Americans are looking to settle far from the mainstream. For these affluent migrants, the Alentejo is the new eldorado. As a small, diverse country, numerous factors are key to the decision to move to Portugal. These include a mild climate, rich culture, low crime rate and attractive fiscal incentives, to name a few.
Non-Habitual Resident migrants nearly double
Improved conditions and generous tax breaks have attracted more foreigners to Portugal in the last year and a half. The increase in the number of Non-Habitual Residents was 83% over the period, currently totalling 23,767 with NHR status. The rise is mainly from France, Italy and the UK. Emigrated Portuguese nationals are also returning but only account for 6% of the total.
In 2018, the Government plans to launch, under the framework of the Simplex+2018, a new “citizen card” for foreigners residing in Portugal, which will group in a single document identification numbers for tax (“NIF”), Social Security and the National Health System (“SNS”). According to the Secretary of State, with this new card, the delivery to the foreign citizen of all these identification numbers will happen simultaneously at the same place of issuance, cutting significantly the time and effort required.
Last year, 152,000 homes were sold in Portugal, an increment of 25%. French and Brazilian are the foreigners who are buying more properties. The jump in demand also led to a substantial increase in prices: Lisbon up 37%, Oporto 29%, Madeira 24% and the Algarve 18%.
Between 2008 and 2016, more than 220,000 foreign nations chose to become Portuguese citizens. Brazilians submitted the most requests. In 2016, Portugal granted nationality to 29,351 foreigners, a record since 1996, according to data from the National Institute of Statistics.