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60,000 emigrate to Brazil in search of a better life

By Chris Graeme [email protected]

The economic and financial crisis in Portugal is leading to emigration en-masse to Brazil, Angola and France.

After 20 years in which Portugal became a net-importer of immigrants from Brazil, the Ukraine and Rumania among other Eastern European countries, hoards of Portuguese are now leaving the country to escape rising unemployment, crippling taxes, low salaries and lack of opportunities.

The situation is mirroring the mass emigration to France, the United Kingdom, Luxemburg, Switzerland, Holland, Canada and the United States seen towards the end of the Salazar period in the 1950s and 60s.

That tendency was only inverted with the mass return of the ‘returnees’ from the former colonies of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau and Goa after the end of the Colonial Wars in 1974-5.  

In just two years the number of Portuguese registered in consulates worldwide has increased by 324,000, reaching 3.5 million in 2010.


And according to estimates, around 408 Portuguese are leaving Portugal for Brazil, France, Angola, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland every day.

In 2009 there had been an increase of 175,000 emigrants on 2008 while by 2010 the number of Portuguese living and working abroad increased 149,000 in comparison to the previous year.

According to numbers published by the Brazilian Ministry of Justice, in the first six months of 2011 52,000 Portuguese left Portugal for Brazil, inverting the tendency for Brazilians who emigrated in search of work to Portugal in the 1990s and first half of the millennium. In December 2010 the number of Brazilians living in Portugal stood at 119,363.

The Portuguese community living in Brazil surged to 328,826 residents in June. In December 2010 there were 276,703 people with Portuguese passports living in Brazil. In just six months the Portuguese community has shot up by 18%.

And the number of immigrants from all countries moving to Brazil by December 2010 stood at 961,000. By June this year that figure had shot up to 1,466 million.

In Europe, France was the country which attracted most Portuguese (66,000 in just two years).

In Brazil, where salaries are much higher for qualified technical staff such as architects, electrical and metallurgical engineers, lawyers and doctors, the reason for emigration lies in better opportunities in Brazil’s booming economy.

Many highly-qualified Portuguese, particularly those with skills in construction, have moved to Brazil because of the explosion in building projects generated by the Olympic Games which that country will stage in 2016.