A Documentary on Reverse Euro Migration to Former Colonies

This is a very interesting documentary by Aljazeera, which captures the current trend of reverse European migration to former colonies in‪ Africa‬ and South America. Many Spaniards and Portuguese are now moving to Mozambique and Angola in Africa and Brazil, Argentina and Chile in South America to secure jobs and other economic opportunities.

Some highlights of the documentary include:

  • “Lisbon (Portugal) is witnessing an unprecedented trend — EU citizens queuing outside African embassies for work visas” from 2.00 min onwards.
  • About 5 mins into the video, the narrator says “…majority don’t see the themselves as immigrants”.  Then a young Portuguese chap says: “we are not here for our whole lives, only temporary. I am not here to lay down roots. I am only here because I have been forced to emigrate. I would’ve never left Portugal voluntarily. My plan is to go back to Portugal once the situation has improved”
  • Each month, the Portuguese consulate in Mozambique registers over 150 new arrivals.
  • About EUR 2bn are remitted to Portugal each year from Portuguese expats.
  • In Argentina, new laws guarantee immigrants access to healthcare and education, and allow them to stay even if they have no work.

This is certainly fascinating. I can’t help imagining the consequences of this reverse migration in the medium term.

First, will this new and rising inflow cause tensions between citizens and the immigrants in terms of access to economic opportunities? Even though, in many cases, the immigrants are not directly displacing the local population, but are plugging existing skills gap.

Second, what will be the impact of this inflow of (mostly skilled) migrants: skills and technology transfer,  economic growth or greater capital flight?

Third, what about the fortress-Europe approach to immigration, at least in/to the countries in question? If a good number of the young and the skilled are leaving for elsewhere, within the context of an ageing population and a rising dependency ratio soon to rival Sub-Saharan Africa (see projections by the UN here), economic….er…”constraints” (national debt and economic stagnation, to mention two only) and very hostile anti-immigration policies, who will foot the tax bill in these countries in the medium to long-term, if these trends continue? Will these trends affect the hostile anti-immigration debates in Europe?

Four, are other African countries particularly the anglophone and francophone ones positioning themselves to make the most of this momentous opportunity?

We really need to think about some of these questions and more.

Oh Nigeria, please get your act together. *sighs*

Related Articles:

A Knee-Jerk Approach to Managing Immigration in the UK

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