In a portrait of the “foreign population and migratory flows in Portugal”, the Francisco Manuel dos Santos Foundation's statistical database sought to assess the number of and living conditions of immigrants and the evolution of nationality and residence permits.

The study concluded that 76% of foreigners come from non-EU countries, with an unemployment rate more than double the national average, earning, in 2021, an estimated “€94 less per month than the national average”.

In 2022 alone, “118,000 immigrants entered Portugal, the highest number since records began”, with 31,000 leaving, “23,000 less (- 43%) than recorded in the year marked by the highest number of departures, in 2013".


“In the last 15 years, Portuguese nationality has been granted to around half a million foreigners (468,665), residents and non-residents in Portugal”, says Pordata, highlighting that this concession was mostly given to citizens not resident in the country in the last two years and, in 2022, a third of nationality assignments went to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews.

The number of immigrants decreased between 2010 and 2015, but since then there has been a very large increase and, as an example, between 2018 and 2019, the increase was more than 110,000 foreigners.

“Compared to the Portuguese population, the foreign population in Portugal has a higher proportion of men and is younger”, with a median age of 37 years, seven years less than the Portuguese population.

“The most representative nationalities in Portugal are Brazilian (29.3%), British (6%), Cape Verdean (4.9%), Italian (4.4%), Indian (4.3%) and Romanian (4.1%)”.


This increase in the foreign population is reflected in the education system, with the number of registered immigrants doubling in five years, rising to 105,955 in the 2021/22 academic year.

In the 1st cycle, one in 10 children is foreign and a third of doctoral students are immigrants.

In terms of employment, according to Eurostat, cited by Pordata, more than a third have a temporary employment contract (the average is 16% among Portuguese workers) and Portugal is the fourth country in the European Union with the greatest job insecurity among foreigners.

With regard to poverty or social exclusion, 31% of foreigners residing in Portugal are at this level, 11 points above the average for the Portuguese population, with this problem being particularly felt among those who come from outside Europe (34%).

“Since 2019, the number of immigrants has been three times greater than the number of emigrants, contributing to the positive migration balances”, but the number of emigrants continues to be relevant, says Pordata.

“In 2022, 31,000 emigrants left Portugal, 23,000 fewer than recorded in the year marked by the highest number of departures, in 2013” and, among the profile, the fact that two-thirds are men stands out, with almost half (47.6%) with higher education.

Among those who left last year, 51% went to another Member State and, in an analysis of previous years, Pordata concluded that “in 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2021, more emigrants left with higher education than with basic education ”.