Portuguese emigration: 110 thousand left the country in 2015

  • ECO News
  • 3 January 2017

It is still not possible to predict if emigration reached a plateau or plummeted, but it is likely the number of people who left Portugal will not decreased to values prior to the 2008 crisis.

There were 110 thousand Portuguese emigrants last year. These are the data disclosed in the 2015 emigration report handed in the Portuguese Parliament this week and presented in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Rui Pena Pires, coordinator of the Emigration Observatory (Observatório da Emigração, an independent center from the Portuguese University ISCTE working with the government), mentioned there are 110 thousand entries of Portuguese citizens in foreign countries, the same amount as in the two previous years. Pena Pires added: “The only thing we can confidently state is that emigration did not increase. We are still unable to say, however, if it has stabilized or had a slight decrease”.

The minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva stated: “It is easy to tell the specific effect of the crisis since 2008 – and, later on, of the adjustment programme between 2011 and 2014 – on the reinforcement of the Portuguese emigration”. The head of Portuguese diplomacy believes “it is relatively simple to consider there is a causal link between both the effects of the recession plus the reduction of employment seen in Portugal between 2010 and 2014 and the increase in Portuguese emigration”.

Alike Pena Pires, the minister of Foreign Affairs also states that “since 2014, data shows the 2013 peak in emigration has never been reached again and the Portuguese emigration has at least stabilized – it may actually have begun a downwards trajectory”.

The minister underlined it is still important to “carefully regard” emigration data for 2016, a year in which Portugal has seen a “consistent increase in active population, an increase in employment volume and a reduction in the unemployment rate”.

The minister considers the demographic pressure is “a structural problem in the Portuguese society”, to which the government should “pay close attention”. Portugal has a natural decrease (deficit of births over deaths) and a negative net migration (more people emigrating than immigrating).