Young Spanish and Portuguese leave Europe in search of jobs
Many young Spanish and Portuguese citizens are leaving their homeland in search of better opportunities abroad, with former colonies being among the more popular destinations, reports say.
The sovereign debt crisis has seen youth unemployment reach its highest level in years on the Iberian peninsula. More than half of all young people in Spain and a third in Portugal are out of work. The job market squeeze has pushed Iberians to other European countries less hit by the crisis, with 7,756 Spaniards moving to the United Kingdom and 4,408 to Germany. But many in search of work have seen their prospects limited due to imperfect foreign language skills, so they are trying their luck in the former colonies.
In the first half of 2012, 40,000 Spaniards left home - almost twice as many as in the same period last year, figures from the National Statistics Institute show. The numbers are even higher for foreign nationals in Spain, of which 229,000 left during the last six months. As such, Spain has seen its overall population drop by 33,162 people this year to 46,163,116, newspaper El Pais reported this week. The latest report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said labour migration to Spain from outside the EU also declined by 90,000 over the last year, adding to fears that the country could suffer a âbrain drainâ. âIf the wealth of a country is its people, we are losing wealthâ, Antonio Izquierdo, a sociology professor at CoruÃ±a University, told the newspaper. Last year, 4,182 Spaniards moved to Ecuador, and about three thousand to Venezuela and Argentina, regions which have seen their economic growth rise to near 'recession proof' levels.
Portugal was reported to have witnessed a similar trend, with an estimated 120,000 nationals moving abroad in 2011. The OECD estimates that 70,000 Portuguese emigrate every year, half of whom are under 29 years of age. The most significant flow of Portuguese has been to Brazil, partly due to the country's booming economic performance. Brazilâs National Secretariat of Justice said the number of applications for permanent residence filed by Portuguese rose from 276,703 to 328,856 between December 2010 and June 2011. That figure is separate from the many temporary work, study and research visas that were issued. Statistics for 2010 revealed that 91,900 Portuguese nationals were living in Angola, where oil has created a boom economy. High illiteracy levels mean Angola has been crying out for an educated workforce, and experts from Portugal are in high demand, said German magazine Der Spiegel. If skilled workers continue to leave the country the situation in Portugal âwill be even more miserableâ, the Portuguese newspaper Publico stated.