British moving to Portugal jump 34.6%
The number of British living in Portugal jumped by 34.9% from 2019 to 2020 new immigration figures show.
The increase was well beyond anything seen in recent years according to the Borders, Immigration and Asylum Report for 2020 from Portugal’s borders and immigration service SEF.
Several factors influenced the increase, from Brexit to Portugal’s Non-Habitual Residence Scheme (NHR) which allows many foreigners, including Brits, who move to Portugal to benefit from huge reductions in their income tax bills.
The Non-Habitual Resident tax incentive was introduced in 2009, exempting individuals with certain sauces of income from overseas (including pensions) from paying tax on their income.
In its 2020 budget, Portugal replaced the exemption with a 10% tax rate — still below what would be payable in many other countries.
Brexit has played a role in pushing many families towards Portugal as well. From 2011 to 2015 the number of Britons living in Portugal either shrank or grew by a maximum of 4% per year. Then, in 2016, Britain voted to leave the EU. That year the number of Brits living in Portugal shot up by 13%. It rose again by 16% in 2017 and by 18% in 2018.
Now the latest figures in the SEF report has shown a jump of 34.6% from 2019 to 2020, showing a total of 46,238 Brits officially resident in Portugal in 2020.
This makes Britons now the second largest group of foreigners resident in Portugal behind Brazilians. Back in 2016 Britons were only the sixth largest group of foreign residents in Portugal.
Christina Hippisley, General Manager of the Portuguese Chamber of Commerce in the UK said, “Portugal’s lifestyle benefits have long made it an attractive destination for British retirees and we’ve seen a notable increase in those looking to enjoy their retirement here over the past few years. The affordability of life in Portugal and the longer life expectancy here both play into this. At the same time, we’ve seen a rising number of younger families moving to Portugal, attracted by the country’s excellent international schools, laid back pace of life and — for many — its location within the Schengen Zone.”
In 2020 there was an increase in the numbers of overseas citizens living in Portugal for the fifth consecutive year rising from 388,000 in 2015 to 662,000 in 2020.
After the UK, Italy, France and Spain continue to be the main locater countries between 2019 and 2020 but have lost traction on 2019 with -43.1% for Italy (4,479), -17.4% from France (4,072) and -12.6% from Spain (2,837).
Concerning successful applicants of Portugal’s Golden Visa programme, China came in first with 296, Brazil second with 126 and the US third with 75 visas issued.
And according to the latest government statistics for 2019, the number of US and Canadian citizens living in Portugal was 5,146 (+24%) on 2018.