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Immigration to Portugal

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Title: Immigration to Portugal  
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Subject: Portugal, Immigration to Portugal, Lusophilia, Racism in Portugal, Filipinos in Portugal
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Immigration to Portugal

A Portuguese residence permit issued to non-EU citizens.

As of 2007 Portugal had 10,617,575 inhabitants of whom 332,137, or 3.13%, were legal immigrants (51,7% female, 48,3% male).[1]

Today, many Brazilians, Ukrainians, Moldovans, Romanians and Russians, Asians, as well as Africans, are making Portugal their home.


  • Immigration 1
  • Resident foreigners 2
  • Illegal immigration 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Portugal, long a country of emigration, has now become a country of net immigration, and not just from the last Portuguese overseas territories in India (until 1961), Africa (until 1975), and Far East Asia (until 1999). Since the 1990s, along with a boom in construction, several new waves of Ukrainian, Brazilian, people from the former Portuguese colonies in Africa and other Africans have settled in the country. Those communities currently make up the largest groups of immigrants in Portugal. Romanians, Moldovans and Chinese also have chosen Portugal as a destination. A number of EU citizens from the United Kingdom, Spain and other EU member states, have also chosen Portugal as a destination, with a major part of the British, Spanish, Dutch, German, and Scandinavian communities being mostly composed of persons looking for quality of life, including an increasing number of pensioners.

Foreign-born naturalised citizens in Portugal by 2001.
Legal foreign residents in Portugal
country of origin 2002 [2] 2004 [3] 2006 [4]
Brazil 58,370 66,907 73,384
Cape Verde 59,678 64,164 68,145
Angola 31,332 35,264
Guinea Bissau 22,855 25,148
São Tomé 8,951 10,483
Mozambique 5,312 5,471
Ukraine 60,571 66,227 41,872
Romania 10,673 12,155
Moldova 11,817 13,689
Russia 8,211
China 9,518
India 5,088
Pakistan 4,212
Total non-EU 340,187 374,652
European Union 65,393 74,542
Total 405,580 449,194 434,887

Immigration to Portugal has grown since the 1990s. Some immigrant communities, like those arrived from Africa and South America, grew as a result of economic emigration - foreigners looking for better economic conditions abroad. Other immigrant communities, like most of those arrived from other EU member states, are a result of the attractiveness of the country for high income foreign citizens looking for a better quality of life, a warmer sunny weather, security and exquisite cuisine.

The 20 largest legal immigrant communities in 2007 compared with their numbers in 1999
* : European Union citizenship
P : Portuguese speaking
Legal foreign residents Number in 1999 Number in 2007 Growth in percentage
BraziliansP 20,851 66,354 + 218%
CapeverdeansP 43,951 63,925 + 45%
Ukrainians 123 39,480 + 31998%
AngolansP 17,721 32,728 + 85%
GuineansP 14,217 23,733 + 67%
British* 13,335 23,608 + 77%
Romanians* 224 19,155 + 8451%
Spanish* 11,122 18,030 + 62%
Germans* 9,605 15,498 + 61%
Moldovans 3 14,053 + 468333%
SantomeansP 4,809 10,627 + 121%
French* 6,499 10,556 + 62%
Chinese 2,762 10,448 + 278%
US-Americans 7,975 8,264 + 4%
Dutch* 3,675 6,589 + 79%
Italians* 2,700 5,985 + 122%
MozambicansP 4,502 5,681 + 26%
Russians 448 5,114 + 1042%
Bulgarians* 347 5,028 + 1349%
Indians 1,211 4,104 + 239%

Resident foreigners

While many earlier immigrants have now become naturalised citizens, there are still substantial numbers of foreign citizens resident in Portugal.

According to Statistics Portugal there were 10,636,979 persons resident in Portugal in 2010, of whom 103,230 (0.97%) were citizens of other EU countries, and 344,853 (3.24%) were citizens of non EU countries.

Brazilians are the most prevalent foreign nationality. The 119,552 resident Brazilians are 1.12% of the total population. Other significant nationalities are the Ukrainians (0.47%), people from Cape Verde (0.42%), Romanians (0.35%), Angolans (0.22%), people from Guinea-Bissau (0.19%) and citizens of the United Kingdom (0.18%). There are also Chinese and Moldovans (0.15% each), people from São Tomé and Príncipe (0.10%), Germans, Spaniards and Bulgarians (0.08% each), Indians, Russians, French and Italians (0.05% each) as well as citizens of the Netherlands (0.04%) and Mozambicans (0.03%). The numbers of Pakistanis, Americans, Venezuelans, Moroccans, Belgians and Senegalese (0.02% each) are also not insignificant. There are numerous additional nationalities present but communities of less than 1,500 persons are not listed here.

Illegal immigration

In 2006 the Portuguese government made it easier for second generation immigrants to gain citizenship in order to prevent illegal immigration. [5][6] There are now estimated to be 260,000 immigrants from Russia, Ukraine and Moldova in Portugal, half of these illegal. Most work in agriculture.[7]

Illegal immigration rose by 55% in 2009 most of the illegals being Brazilian nationals[8] Employers of illegal immigrants in Portugal face jail terms.[9]

See also


  1. ^ INE, Statistics Portugal
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
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