Portuguese emigration, which decreased from an annual average of 48,000 persons during the decade 1904–13 to 37,562 in 1961, increased sharply after 1963 as a result of acute labor shortages in other European countries, especially in France and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). By 1970, it was estimated that more than 100,000 Portuguese were emigrating yearly. Legal emigration to the FRG continued to increase until November 1973, when the FRG suspended non-EC immigration. Overall, more than 130,000 Portuguese emigrated in 1973. Because of the loss of Portugal's African colonies in 1975, an estimated 800,000 Portuguese settlers returned to Portugal. Since then at least 25,000 generally return from abroad each year, mostly from other European countries or America. As of 1989, some 4,000,000 Portuguese were living abroad, mainly in France, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Canada, Venezuela, and the US. Their remittances home came to 8.3% of the nation's GDP in 1989.
There were 121,513 legally registered foreigners in 1991, including 52,037 Africans. In 1998, a total of 338 asylum applications were submitted, and 28 people were granted temporary protection or humanitarian status. The total refugee population at the end of 1998 was 340. In the first half of 1999, 126 asylum applications were filed. Also in 1999, Portugal accepted 1,271 Kosovar Albanians from Macedonia under the UNHCR/IOM Humanitarian Evacuation Programme. In 1999 the net migration rate was -1.51 migrants per 1,000 population.