The total number of French residents in Portugal is estimated at between 20,000 and 25,000. Among them are a large number of retirees wishing to take advantage of the tax-free regime.
Attracted by the French way of life, more and more French people are choosing to live in France.install Portugal where nearly 2,500 of them were granted a resident card in 2015, an increase of 29%, according to data published Monday by the National Statistics Institute (Ine).
Tax exemptions for retirees. While Portugal has introduced a tax exemption scheme for European retirees, a total of 4,425 French people took up residence in Portugal in 2014 and 2015, outstripping the arrivals of Britons (3,351) and Spaniards (3,114). Lisbon eased the tax burden on would-be exiles in 2013 European private-sector pensioners arriving in Portugal are exempt from tax on pensions received in their country of origin for ten years, provided they have not lived there for the previous five years.
The French are the leading foreign investors. This generous tax incentive has helped revive a sluggish real estate market: among foreign investors, the French now rank first with 27% of purchases, far ahead of the British (18%) and the Chinese (13%), according to the Portuguese Association of Real Estate Agents. While some 15,000 French nationals are officially registered with the consulate in Portugal, their total number is estimated at between 20,000 and 25,000.
Fewer and fewer Chinese. At the same time, the Chinese craze for the country has slowed somewhat: 2,575 of them obtained a residence permit in 2015, compared with 3,728 a year earlier, a drop of over 30%. A country in need of investment, since the end of 2012 Portugal has been granting residence permits ("gold" visas) for non-European investors willing to spend at least 500,000 euros on a property purchase, transfer at least one million euros or create ten jobs. This scheme was undermined by a corruption scandal, which had come to light in November 2014 with the arrest of a dozen people, including several high-ranking officials suspected of facilitating the granting of these special residence permits.