Prepared by the Observatório da Emigração, a research center at ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, the report indicates that, from 80,000 departures in 2019, this number dropped to 45,000 in 2020.

The reduction was general, encompassing practically all the traditional destinations of Portuguese emigration.

According to this document, the Covid-19 pandemic crisis and the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union (Brexit) contributed to this drop.

In relation to the pandemic, the impact was expressed through “limits to international mobility for health purposes and the economic crisis that resulted from the containment”.

Brexit contributed through barriers to migration to this country, following the plan for the UK's exit from the European area of ​​free movement.

The United Kingdom had been, in 2019, the main destination of Portuguese emigration, having been dethroned from that position in 2020 by Switzerland.

The numbers reflect these changes, since, in 2020, 18,000 fewer Portuguese emigrated to the United Kingdom than in the previous year, which represents “the biggest drop of the century in emigration to this destination”.

The report indicates that Portuguese emigration continues its downward path, which began in 2014 and is explained by the “resumption of economic growth in Portugal, expressed in the revitalisation of the labour market, with employment growth and a drop in unemployment”.

High emigration

According to the United Nations, whose data are cited in this report, Portugal was, in 2019, the 26th country in the world with the most emigrants.

In Europe, only seven countries had larger emigrant populations: Russian Federation, Ukraine, Poland, United Kingdom, Germany, Romania and Italy.

In terms of the number of emigrants by the population of the country of origin, Portugal had an emigration rate of 26%. In this indicator, Portugal was the eighth country in the world with more emigrants.

Portugal was, in 2019, the first country in the European Union with more emigrants as a percentage of the population: 25.7%.