10,684 foreigners arrived in Portugal between 2009 and 2016 and requested the status of Non-Habitual Resident (RNH), which grants professionals with high added value activities a reduction in the personal income tax (IRS) rate, paying only 20%.
The numbers are advanced by the Ministry of Finance which acknowledges that there is no concrete data on how many of these 10,684 are currently active professionals in Portugal. It is enough to analyze the current national panorama in terms of entrepreneurship, investment of multinationals in the country and even the global character that Portuguese universities have been assuming, to realize that in recent years Portugal has entered the international talent route.
Data from the Ministry of Finance point to a strong increase in the number of requests for RNH status from 2014, when 2126 applications were received. In 2009 there were only 16 and in 2013, the number still did not exceed 837. Last year, 6003 applications were delivered. 3270 were already authorized and 786 applications for 2016 are still awaiting analysis. The numbers advanced by the ministry confirm the trend that has been followed by companies. Technological multinationals like Cisco, Microsoft, Siemens and many others recruit the best talent, national or international. And the trend extends to other sectors such as Shared Service Centers.
But the attractiveness of Portugal to foreigners is not limited to professionals. As a result of a strategic investment that has been consolidated by national universities, a growing number of international students chooses Portugal every year to study. Between the academic years 2009/2010 and 2013/2014, the number of foreign students in Portuguese universities grew from 19,425 to around 34,000, according to data from the General Office of Education and Science Statistics. Take, for example, the University of Porto (one of several), which announced that it had this year its academic record of attracting international students by receiving more than four thousand students from 129 countries. Only in the second semester did 978 students enter the university, under international mobility programs such as Erasmus +.
(Source: Jornal Expresso, Economia, 26/02/2017)