Portugal's Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva | Vasily Maximov/AFP via Getty Images | Vasily Maximov/AFP via Getty Images
Portugal to welcome Brits even without Brexit deal
British Embassy officials estimate the number of Brits living in Portugal at around 45,000.
By Paul Ames
Updated 1/11/19, 7:41 PM CET
LISBON — Portugal’s government on Friday laid out proposals to protect rights of British citizens living in the country if there’s a no-deal Brexit but made clear it expects similar treatment for the around 300,000 Portuguese living in Britain.
“We are deciding these things unilaterally and we expect the United Kingdom to respond in the same way,” said Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva, announcing contingency plans to be applied if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a deal.
The plans aim to minimize disruption for British citizens living in Portugal and the millions who visit as tourists, said Santos Silva and Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita.
“The British are welcome in Portugal as residents, as tourists, as investors, as students. We hope they will continue to come and stay in Portugal,” Cabrita said.
In 2017, 22,431 Brits were registered as permanent residents in Portugal, according to data from the immigration service. However, British Embassy officials estimate the real number living in the country at around 45,000.
The Portuguese government and the embassy are running awareness campaigns to get Brits to register before Brexit day on March 29.
“In case of a no-deal scenario … the guarantee to acquire the right of permanent residence would only apply to UK nationals who are resident in Portugal before 29 March,” says a new government pamphlet.