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In 2020, the foreign population residing in Portugal increased for the fifth consecutive year, totaling 662 095 foreign citizens holding Residence Permits. This was the highest number recorded by the SEF since 1976, according to the 2020 Immigration, Border and Asylum Report (RIFA).

According to SEF, Brazilian nationality remains the main foreign community resident in the country, representing 27,8% of the total, the highest value since 2012. The UK represents 7% of the total, and the second most representative foreign nationality in Portugal.

India moves up two positions, now occupying the 9th position, and Italy, the sixth place, confirming the growth that has taken place in recent years. In 2020, 183 993 Brazilians were registered in Portugal, followed by citizens of the United Kingdom (46 238), Cape Verde (36 609), Romania (30 052), Ukraine (28 629), Italy (28 159), China (26 074), France (24 935), India (24 550) and Angola (24 449).

SEF states that “the sustained growth of foreign citizens from the countries of the European Union confirms the impact of attractiveness factors, already pointed out in previous years, such as the perception of Portugal as a safe country, as well as the tax advantages arising from the for the Non-Habitual Resident regime”.

The foreign population resides mostly on the coast, mainly in Lisbon (285 570), Faro (103 565) and Setúbal (60 939), totaling 450 074 resident citizens, compared to 409 089 in 2019.

ISSUANCE OF RESIDENCE PERMITS Regarding the issuance of new Residence Permits, there was a decrease of 8.5% compared to the previous year, with 118 124 new permits issued. The granting of new Residence Permits was mainly motivated by Family Reunification (35 736), the exercise of professional activity (29 715) and to study (12 285). Among the main nationalities to acquire Residence Permits through Family Reunification are brazilians (47%) and angolans (42,7%), while professional activity prevails for indians (77,4%) and nepalese (57,6%) nationals. “In the context of issuing and renewing Residence Permits to foreign citizens, the upward trend continues, despite the particularly atypical and irregular year, with the closure of borders from March to June 2020, and other restrictions that remained after that date,” reveals the RIFA.

In 2020, 287 811 Residence Permits were issued, representing a slight increase compared to 2019 (285 393) and reinforces the growing trend seen since 2016. Of the residence permits issued, there are 270 617 Temporary Residence Permit (94% of the total), and 17 194 Permanent Residence Permit. Regarding the renewal of Residence Permits in 2020 (132 035) there was an increase of 23% compared to 2019 (107 304).

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