Migrations are the movements of people from one place to another.
People migrate for different reasons; it can be because of bad
living conditions existing in their country of origin and poor social mobility
or fewer job opportunities. Other reasons can be better and more
attractive conditions existing in the country of destination, for example
better economic growth or liberalization of trade in Europe.
There are two different types of migrations:
Emigration: It is the act of leaving one country to settle in another.
Immigration: It is the act of entering and settling in a country which is
not your country of origin.
Reasons for migration :
Natural disasters or environmental problems:
- Prolonged droughts, etc.
- Religious persecution (e.g.: The persecution of the Jews during the World
- Ethnic rivalries between ethnic and economic groups
- Low wages
- Deterioration of rural life
- Political Regimes (in Portugal: the regime of the dictator Salazar, known as
- Political repression
- Political persecution
Reduced barriers to migrations:
- Transport network
- Borders opening.
In the 20th century the wave of emigrants in Portugal started to grow at
the beginning of the 20th century during the Republican Movement and
the proclamation of the Republic on the 5th October 1910. The emigration
flow decreased during the First World War (1914-1918), and grew again
during the next decade.
During the first half of the 20th century, migration flow was to the
other side of the Atlantic Ocean, namely to Brazil, the USA, Argentina,
Venezuela, Uruguay, among others. After the Second World War many
Portuguese emigrants went to Canada. In the 1950s many Portuguese
emigrants went to some European countries, especially to France,
Germany, Belgium, Holland, Great Britain, Switzerland, Luxembourg and
Sweden. It is also important to mention the migration flows to Australia.
The colonial polices of the Portuguese regimes, especially in the
30s, also caused an important flow of emigrants to the former Portuguese
colonies, such as Angola, Mozambique, Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea
Bissau, India, (the States of Goa and Di), Macau and Timor. Despite the
fact that the number of emigrants was increasing continuously until the
1970s, it was always lower than the number of those who went to Brazil
and France. Emigration to South Africa, especially between 1964 and
1967, was very high.
The official statistics record shows that, between 1958 and 1974,
1.5 million individuals left Portugal. In 1973, for example, there was a total
number of 123,000 people. The following year, even after all migration
restrictions throughout Europe, 71,000 people left the country.
In the 1980s and 1990s the emigration flow continues, especially
to Germany and Switzerland.
Generally speaking, we can say that in the 20th century there were
2 stages of migration in Portugal:
• From 1900 to 1960 to Brazil, Canada and the USA
• From 1960 to 2000 to Europe, mainly to France and
In Portugal: the 1960s were good, due to consignments of emigrants.
However, everything changed in 1975. The decolonisation brings more
than 500 000 people from former colonies, causing political and social
instability and employment break due to the change of regime.
The Portuguese emigration, despite all the barriers, continued today,
in a more modest size, assuming now temporary and increasingly linked
to economic investments, studies, professional activities, etc.
Portugal only became a migration destination in the 1970s, with the
fall of the dictatorship in 1975 and the independence of its former African
colonies: Angola, Mozambique, Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and São
Tomé e Príncipe, which also brought back hundreds of thousands of
Portuguese who were living in the colonies. They are called “retornados”,
which means people who were living in another country and had to
return to their country of origin because of political or other reasons.
Most immigrants and “retornados” ended up by settling down in the
Lisbon Metropolitan Area.
Since the late 1990s, the geography of immigration to Portugal has
undergone truly profound changes. Nowadays we are hosting immigrants
from many Eastern European countries like Ukraine, Moldova, Romania
Picture 1 - Evolution of legal resident foreign population in Portugal, by
continent of origin, 1980-99
1980 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94* 95 96 97 98 1999
Picture 2 -Total Africa North America South America
Legal foreigners in Portugal in 1996 Asia Europe
Legal foreigners, 1996
Africans and Asians with legal residence in1996 were already 88,316
people (51% of the total number of all foreigners).
Note: These documents refer only to legal residents. It is not possible to
consider the number of people who were illegally living in Portugal,
because is it not known officially.
Despite the fact that the majority of immigrants resides in the Lisbon
Metropolitan Area, it is also possible to find many of them throughout the
country, which is caused by work opportunities available in each region.
Picture 3 - 1998 Distribution of EU
citizens living in Portugal
Picture 4 - 1998 Distribution of
citizens coming from former Portuguese
colonies in Africa (PALOP) living in
Picture 5 - 1998 Distribution
of Brazilian citizens living in
Portugal 6 - 1998 Distribution
of Non-European citizens living
Academic and Professional level of immigrants living in
Eastern European immigrants, although they have relatively high
educational and professional qualifications, are employed in low-paying
and socially-undervalued jobs, such as construction (men) and industrial
cleaning and domestic work (women), among others.
There is a significant percentage of Eastern Europeans working in
agriculture, especially in the Alentejo, the Ribatejo and the Western
Regions of Portugal, as well as in some types of industries in the
Table - This table represents work contracts made with immigrants who
have Permanence Permits (an authorization to stay in the country for a
longer period of time) per employment sector and per country of origin
Employment sector Ukrain Brazi Moldov Romani Cape Angol Russi
e l a a Verd a a
Agriculture and 5.4 1.6 5.0 6.0 1.5 1.1 4.3
Extractive Industry 1.5 0.2 0.5 0.5 0.2 0.0 0.6
Manufacturing 24.2 7.8 13.3 8.8 4.2 4.7 28.1
Water , Gas and 0.0 0.0 0.1 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.1
Construction 41.3 25.5 54.1 53.4 43.4 33.7 32.3
Commerce 7.0 12.1 5.8 5.5 6.0 8.1 7.3
Restaurants and 6.0 22.1 6.0 6.6 9.2 14.1 9.6
Transports and 1.5 2.0 2.4 1.2 0.6 0.6 1.4
Services 13.1 28.6 12.8 17.9 34.9 37.7 16.3
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
There are several positive and negative consequences concerning
immigration, such as:
• Increase of the population;
• Increase of the birth rate as a result of larger number of young
people and adults coming to Portugal;
• Rejuvenation of the population in general;
• Increase of the number of working population;
• Cultural enrichment of the population;
• Possible emergence of slums and inadequate living conditions for
more disadvantaged families ;
• Difficulties in accepting new cultures, languages and customs.
http://www.marktest.com/wap/a/n/id~5d9.aspx - 03/12/2009
http://www.migrationinformation.org/feature/display.cfm?ID=77 - 02/12/2009
http://imigrantes.no.sapo.pt/page6portugal.html - 29/12/2009
http://imigrantes.no.sapo.pt/page6.html – 29/12/2009
http://ideiasetemas.blogs.sapo.pt/510.html – 29/12/2009
http://www.libreopinion.com/members/imigport/numeros.htm - 03/12/2009
http://imigrantes.no.sapo.pt/page6brasil.html – 27/12/2009
Diciopédia 2008 – Porto Editora
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