60.000 Portuguese emigrated in 2022: United Kingdom loses importance, Switzerland returns to be main destination

Portugal has “a little more than 2,1 million Portuguese emigrants, that is, people born in Portugal living abroad”

Around 60.000 Portuguese emigrated in 2022, the same as in the previous year, with the United Kingdom losing importance due to Brexit and Switzerland once again becoming the main destination country, according to a report.

According to the 2022 Emigration Report, prepared by the Emigration Observatory and Rede Migra, a little more than 60 thousand Portuguese will have emigrated in 2022, the same number as in the previous year, but the stagnation is apparent, since “practically all outflows grew, except the one that had the United Kingdom as its destination”.

For the United Kingdom – which was once the main destination for Portuguese emigrants – emigration decreased by more than 40%, having been surpassed by Switzerland, Spain and France.

Portugal has, according to United Nations data cited in the document, “a little more than 2,1 million Portuguese emigrants, that is, people born in Portugal living abroad”.

It thus occupies 26th position in the ranking of countries with the most emigrants, in a top led by India (17,5 million).

In 2022, Switzerland was the main destination country for Portuguese emigration, with close to 10.000 Portuguese arrivals, followed by Spain (8.272) and the United Kingdom (7.941). France registered 7.663 entries and Germany 5.935.

Above 3.000 entries, the report's authors refer to the Netherlands (4.533), Luxembourg (3.633) and Belgium (3.529, in 2021).

1.812 Portuguese emigrated to Denmark and 1.439 to Mozambique (in 2016, the last year for which data is available).

In Luxembourg, the Portuguese represented close to 12% of total immigrant arrivals, in Macau this percentage was 3,6% and in Switzerland 5,9%.

The report indicates that, in 2022, among immigrants, the Portuguese were the nationality with the highest representation in Luxembourg, the third in Macau and the fourth in Switzerland.

The Portuguese were the fifteenth most represented nationality among new immigrants, although corresponding to only 2,2% of the total value of foreign arrivals.

Of note is the increase in the number of entries to Norway (36,1%), Sweden (34,1%), the Netherlands (33,1%) and Switzerland (29,6%). With lower values, but with increases of around 20%, come Brazil (21,9%) and Austria (19,1%).

There are more Portuguese men than women emigrating and the majority are of young working age.

France remains the country in the world with the largest number of resident immigrants born in Portugal (573.000), followed by Switzerland (204.000), the United States (184.000), the United Kingdom (156.000), Brazil (138.000), Canada (134.000) and Germany (115.000).

Although using data from 2021, the report presents the United Kingdom as the country where the most Portuguese emigrants acquired the nationality of the destination country (2.561 processes), a phenomenon that the authors attribute mainly to fears induced by Brexit and the reduction of associated rights to the foreign status that may result.

This is followed by Switzerland (2.087 in 2021), the United States (1.555), Luxembourg (1.141) and France (1.128 in 2020).

In 2021, the Portuguese represented 2021% of foreigners who obtained Luxembourg nationality, a high percentage that increased for the second time in the last five years.

Of the foreigners who obtained Swiss nationality, 5,6% were Portuguese, the lowest percentage recorded in the last seven years.

The 2022 Emigration Report was prepared by the Emigration Observatory and Rede Migra, within the framework of the Center for Research and Sociology Studies (CIES-IUL) of the Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL).