Portuguese emigration to the UK on the rise before lock down

in News · 23-05-2020 12:50:00 · 1 Comments

Portuguese emigration to the United Kingdom was on the rise before the covid-19 pandemic led European governments to impose restrictions on economic activity and movement of people, according to official statistics

In the 12 months to the end of March, 23,925 Portuguese registered in the British social security, 22 percent more than in the same period last year, shows the quarterly report of the Ministry of Labour and Pensions consulted by the agency Lusa.

Portugal was the third European country with the highest number of registrations (+4,300), behind Spain (+5,000) and Italy (+4,600).

Social security enrolment is a requirement to be able to work and benefit from the social support system in the UK and an indicator used to assess demographic flows into the country.

European Union (EU) citizens' registrations increased by 11,000 in the 12 months to March 2020, an increase of 3 percent over the previous year, despite the decrease in registrations of nationals from Romania (-6 percent) and Poland ( -13 percent).

“Due to the covid-19 pandemic, demand for Social Security Number services by non-British nationals is likely to have been affected, with potential migrants staying in their countries or existing UK migrants returning to their countries of origin, and migrants who have stayed in the UK may have been prevented from starting a new job,” the report said.

It also admits that some registrations may have been motivated by the need to request social support offered by the Government for residents of the United Kingdom affected by the confinement regime, which resulted in the interruption of a large part of the economic activity.

Overall, the Ministry of Labour and Pensions registered 760,000 social security enrolments by March 2020, an increase of 17 percent over March 2019.

Although more than half continue to be EU nationals, the increase was mainly the result of the increase in enrolments of nationals from countries outside the EU, with emphasis on India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Ghana and Turkey.

The United Kingdom officially left the EU on 31 January and until the end of the transition period, at the end of this year, the rights of EU citizens remain unchanged, but the downward trend in European registrations has remained since the referendum that dictated 'Brexit' in June 2016.

On 23 March, the British Government decreed a containment to try to halt the transmission of the new coronavirus, a few days later than most other European countries.

In the first quarter of this year, British GDP contracted 2 percent, with a focus on the construction and services sectors, and the number of unemployment benefit applications in the UK skyrocketed 69 percent in April compared to the previous month, to close to 2.1 million, according to official figures.


I work within the Portuguese community between UK and Portugal and I can categorically say that’s not true. In fact before the lockdown we were dealing with quite substancial number of native Portuguese moving back to Portugal! The increase may come from other nationals with Portuguese passports such as Indians from Goa, Chinese from Macau, Brazilians, Angolans, Cabo Verdean’s, etc! In the U.K., the Indian community with Portuguese passports amount to about 160,000 people.

By Anna from Madeira on 27-05-2020 12:22
Interactive Topics, send us your comments/opinion on this article.

Please note that The Portugal News may use selected comments in the printed edition of the newspaper.