Emigration down to lowest level in five years

It’s the time of year when airports are filled with emigrés returning for Christmas, but this year there’s a new excitement in the air: numbers of Portuguese impelled to leave the country to find a job that gave them some form of future are well down – and there are even those who have started to return.

In a report this morning, RTP quotes the Emigration Observatory findings for 2016.

“Only” 100,000 nationals left the country, largely due to the problems affecting countries like Angola, Brazil and UK (due to Brexit).

In Angola, where dollars have all but disappeared and national currency is not allowed out of the country as well as being ‘worth nothing’, emigration is down by 41.8 and rising.

“Lots of Portuguese are leaving Angola”, said Delfim Morais, a plumber interviewed at Lisbon airport this week who has been working in Angola for the last four years.

Brazil too was a country to which numbers fled during the height of the crisis, only to see that economy also hit the skids a few years later.

Emigration to Brazil is down by 32.6%, says the Observatory, and “for the first time, and because of uncertainty over Brexit” numbers heading for UK have also dropped (last year by 5.4%).

The change marks the “greatest fall in emigration” for the last five years and returning nationals are expected to become a new ‘feature’ of Portuguese life, though gradually.

Says the Observatory, it will still take time to make back the huge numbers that left during the austerity years – particularly as now many of them are well established in new lives overseas.

As for the choices of the 100,000 who left the country in 2016, UK was still the most popular destination (30,543), followed by France (18,480) and Switzerland (10,123).

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