“Rediscovering” Brazil? A Qualitative Study of Highly-Skilled Portuguese Immigration in Brazil in the Twenty-First Century

Migration in the sense of human mobility is inherent to human kind. The exploration and subsequent colonization of the world by European states around the end of the Middle Ages served as a stimulus to the first significant waves of international migration of all kinds and numbers (Castles & Miller, 2009, p. 79). Despite this secular history of human mobility, the scopes and numbers of today’s flows are incomparable to previous ones, leading some scholars to refer to today’s era as “The Age of Migration” (Castles & Miller, 2009). In 2013, for instance, the number of international migrants worldwide reached 232 million, a consecutive growth from 154 million in 1990 and 175
million in 2000 (UNDESA, 2013). The directions and intensities of migration pattern tend to change overtime depending on economic, social, and political factors.

The motivation to leave one’s country can be diverse and depends on the situation the migrant is attempting to escape. The decisive factor depends largely on the situation the migrant to-be is attempting to escape or what he/she is seeking to find elsewhere. It can be related to the search for better economic and employment opportunities; the attempt to escape conflict and war; the search for different lifestyles; and the intention to join family already established abroad (Castles & Miller, 2009; IOM, 2013b). Despite the fact that there are many reasons for people to migrate, a considerable number of international migrants is on the move for economic purposes (Castles & Miller, 2009, p. 221). Moreover, even those migratory moves that are not clearly initiated for economic purposes
possess an economic dimension.

As argued above, North-South migration flows have started gaining more attention in the past few years. A significant number or articles and reports have been written on increased Portuguese emigration, increased immigration in Brazil, and the impacts of the economic crisis on migration flows in general. Although many statistical sources offer data on the impact of the crisis on unemployment worldwide, on the number of international migrants, and on the increased North-South flows, there is still very little knowledge about the migratory processes initiated in response to the crisis. For instance, in relation to the increased rates of Portuguese emigration, most articles found during the literature review for this thesis reinforced the European character of the new wave of Portuguese emigration.

Maria Luana Gama Gato

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