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Portuguese leaving the country in droves

PORTUGUESE EMIGRATION to other European Union countries is on the increase because of the economic recession.

Buses full of Portuguese citizens leave weekly from Lisbon, Porto and Faro in search of work in Spain, Germany, Holland, the United Kingdom, Belgium and France. Official estimates point to there being close to 400,000 Portuguese living in the UK.

So far, there are no concrete statistics for the numbers seeking work elsewhere, although the last study was made in 2003, when an estimated 23,000 left Portugal temporarily.

Sociologists are already saying that the exodus in recent years is already equal to the great migrations in the 1960s – the difference being that these days the Portuguese take a mobile phone with them to maintain contact with their families.

In the 1960s the principal destination was France, now the Portuguese move freely across the European Union.

“Every week, more and more people are going abroad on planes, trains and coaches to other countries in search of work,” said the President of the Portuguese Communities Board, Carlos Pereira.

The country is also suffering from ‘brain drain’ as newly qualified university graduates leave the country in search for a better life, but often end up doing work not related to the degree course they took.