Lisbon, Dec 17 (Lusa) – Some 90,000 Portuguese emigrated in 2017, down from 10,000 in 2016, with the United Kingdom remaining the main destination, according to the Emigration Report released today.

According to the document, which compiles data for 2017, in the countries where they are available, “Portuguese emigration continues in a downward trend” strongly related to “the recovery of the Portuguese economy, especially in terms of job creation”, and “Downward unemployment” with the “revitalization of the labor market”.

This trend, according to the report prepared by the Emigration Observatory, is also explained by the “reduction of the attraction of destination countries such as the UK, due to the Brexit effect, and Angola, due to the economic crisis triggered by the devaluation of oil prices.

“The decline is registered since 2013, when it reached a peak of 120,000, the maximum of this century, to 115,000 in 2014, 110,000 in 2015 and 100,000 in 2016.

Despite the sharp fall of 26% compared to 2016 (30,543), the United Kingdom remains the main destination of the Portuguese, with 22,622 entries in 2017, “a very great distance from the other most relevant destinations.

“Among the biggest declines is Angola, with a 24% decline between 2016 and 2017 (from 3,908 to 2,962), but still only half the decrease recorded in 2016 compared to the previous year (from 6,715 to 3,908).

The decline in the number of Portuguese entry was still recorded in Switzerland (-8.6%), for the fourth consecutive year, from 10,123 in 2016 to 9,257 in 2017, as well as in Australia and Norway, although the absolute values are much lower.

According to the Observatory, due to changes and corrections in German and French statistics, “it is at this moment difficult to accurately measure the recent evolution of emigration to two of the main destinations of Portuguese emigration, which should nevertheless be in sharp decline in the French case.”

After the United Kingdom, the main destinations of Portuguese emigration are Germany, France, Switzerland, and Spain. Outside of Europe, the main destination countries for Portuguese emigration are part of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP): Angola (3 thousand in 2017), Mozambique (thousand in 2016) and Brazil (one thousand in 2015).

In relation to the trend of immigration in destination countries, in 2017, national citizens continued to represent a significant part of new arrivals in Luxembourg (14%), Macao (6.5%) and Switzerland (6.3%).

“In 2017, the Portuguese were the second most represented nationality among new immigrants entering Luxembourg, the fourth in Switzerland and France (2016 values), and the seventh in the United Kingdom,” the document said.

According to United Nations estimates for 2017, Portugal continues to be, in cumulative terms, the European Union country with more emigrants in proportion to the resident population (considering only the countries with more than one million inhabitants), with 2, 3 million emigrants born in Portugal, equivalent to 22% of the population living emigrated, being the 27th country in the world with more emigrants.

According to the same source, the trend of concentration of emigration in Europe was reinforced, while a “marked loss of relative importance of the American countries as an alternative destination” and an increase in the proportion of emigrants established in Africa, however, it is still a minority.

Thus, the percentage of Portuguese living in Europe rose from 53% in 1990 to 66% in 2017, according to the UN data cited in the report.

Overall, France continues to be the country where most Portuguese-born migrants live (615,000 in 2014 – last year with official figures), followed by Switzerland (220,000 in 2017), the United States (148,000 in 2014 ), Canada (143 thousand in 2016), the United Kingdom (139 thousand in 2017), Brazil (138 thousand in 2010), Germany (123 thousand in 2017) and Spain (100 thousand in 2016).

In 2017, among the new emigrants, the Portuguese were the second most represented nationality in Luxembourg, the fourth in Switzerland, and the seventh in the United Kingdom. Regarding Brazil, even though they represented only 3.5% of the total number of foreigners, the Portuguese were the tenth most represented nationality among the new immigrants in 2015.

The trend of emigration, according to estimates by the Observatory, will be to maintain the reduction, albeit at a slower pace than the rise recorded in the most acute years of the economic crisis in Portugal and should stabilize at a higher value than the one registered before the crisis.

According to the document, the emigrant population remains aged and is “mostly composed of low-skilled assets, when characterized globally, since there are significant differences by country.

“Despite this trend, there is also a “significant increase in the proportion of the most qualified”, with the percentage of Portuguese emigrants with higher education residing in OECD countries practically doubling from 6% to 11% between 2001 and 2011.


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