Portuguese immigration is in constant flux of reality, but the most abrupt one seen in recent years was initiated by Brexit. The United Kingdom, which was the main destination for those leaving Portugal with Brexit, is no longer the destination for highly skilled workers who prefer countries in northern Europe.
The Immigration Observatory of the Center for Sociological Research and Studies at Iscte collected publicly cited statistics which reveal that countries such as Sweden and Denmark reached record levels of Portuguese immigration last year.
Iceland had the second largest influx of Portuguese into the country this century, and in Norway and Iceland, the number of immigrants from Portugal increased again for the second year in a row.
On the other hand, last year, Portuguese immigration to the United Kingdom was 41%. In 2022, the United Kingdom reported receiving the largest number of immigrants ever, but only 0.8% of these were from Portugal.
“What seems to be happening with development in the Nordic countries is a redistribution,” notes Rui Peña Pires, science coordinator at Migration Observatory.
Unlike other destinations for Portuguese immigrants, such as France, those seeking work and life in the Nordic countries have often completed their degree. 60% of Portuguese immigrants to Sweden in 2020 were university graduates, three times as many as 20 years ago.
Last year, 547 Portuguese immigrated to Sweden, which is 34% more than the previous year, and one of them is Diogo Mendes, currently a professor at the School of Economics at Stockholm University. In addition to easy adaptation, practically everyone in the country speaks English even if Swedish is not spoken, the reasons that led to the change led others to live in these Nordic places: better quality of life.
“I don’t know how I’m going to return with my salary and the conditions here,” he tells Publico.
Other Portuguese settlers, now in Denmark, Finland and Norway, do not plan to return anytime soon. Although they admit that they miss the days of sun, heat, beaches and terraces, they do not forget the advantages they now have: higher wages, better infrastructure and housing, cheaper energy, a better public transport network and “the opportunity to own a house. And a car in good condition.” .”
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