Portuguese migration to the UK continues to decline after Brexit

November 28, 2023
Fewer Portuguese people immigrated to the UK last year, with immigration down 41% in September compared to the previous year. According to the Labour Ministry, between October 2022 and September 2023, 9,024 Portuguese nationals registered with the authorities, including 5,434 Portuguese nationals registered with social security in the UK. This is a 40.8% decrease from last year, how the UK calculates its demographics. A declining trend in Portuguese immigration to the UK has been observed since 2020 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the impact of the UK's withdrawal from the European Union, also known as the Brexit phenomenon. Portuguese are not the only nationality with little interest in moving to the UK. The UK government revealed that just 10 per cent of the 1.1 million new non-British adult foreigners registered were EU nationals. This rate was 110,000 new registrations, a 50% decrease from September 2019. According to the latest data on the European Union's national registration system under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), as of September 30, 2023, there were 504,170 applications for residence permits. It was a gift from the people of Portugal. Only a quarter of the 273,980 Portuguese nationals received a permanent residence permit, a further 170,110 received a temporary residence permit [predetermined status] and 52,800 had their applications rejected. It was declared invalid. The number of applications does not match the estimated number of Portuguese residents in the UK, which is approximately 450,000, as some applications are duplicated. Meanwhile, 42,071 British nationals became Portuguese nationals in 2021, making them the second largest nationality group in the country, according to data from the Portuguese Foreigners and Border Protection Service (SEF). The total number of Britons in Portugal peaked in 2021 at 714,123, an increase of 7.8% year-on-year. This means Portugal's British population has increased for the sixth year in a row, with some regions more populated than others. The UN data show that 1.3 million UK citizens are estimated to live in the EU around 2019. The majority of them are in Spain, followed by Ireland, France, Germany and Italy is fifth.

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