Eurostat data cited by the Emigration Observatory, a research center of ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, indicate that 5,998 Portuguese entered France in 2020, 21.5% less than in the previous year.

Researcher Inês Vidigal explained to Lusa that the number of Portuguese emigrants who entered France in 2020 is the lowest since the Emigration Observatory has records from, in 2003.

The expert admits that this drop may be related to the generalised reduction in emigration in 2020, associated with the Covid-19 pandemic and restrictions on mobility, but underlined that in the case of France, emigration had already been falling for some years.

The observatory highlights that this is the fourth consecutive year in which the number of Portuguese emigrants to France has decreased (falls of 32.8% in 2017, 3.2% in 2018, and 5% in 2019).

With the exception of 2016, in which there was a slight increase, emigration to France has been falling since 2013, after having reached a record 19,658 entries in 2012.

More attractive destinations

Inês Vidigal explained that, in recent years, other destinations have become more attractive to the Portuguese, such as the United Kingdom (until Brexit), Switzerland or Germany.

According to Eurostat data, it is not just Portuguese emigration that is falling in France: emigration to the country fell by 26.5% in 2020, for a total of 283,237 foreigners.

The observatory highlights, moreover, that the weight of the Portuguese in total entries increased in 2020, to 2.1%, although it fell from the 5.6% registered in 2013.

According to the 2020 Emigration Report, presented in December by the observatory, the number of Portuguese emigrants in 2020 was the lowest in the last 20 years, a value to which Covid-19 and ‘Brexit’ contributed.

The report indicates that Portuguese emigration dropped from 80,000 departures in 2019 to 45,000 in 2020 and concludes that the reduction was general, encompassing practically all traditional destinations of Portuguese emigration.