This post originally appeared in Portuguese on the MigraMundo blog and is republished on Global Voices as part of a content-sharing agreement.
Contrary to popular belief, more Europeans are currently migrating from Europe to Latin America and the Caribbean than in the opposite direction. This is the conclusion reached in a study published recently by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), titled ‘Migratory Dynamics in Latin American and the Caribbean and between Latin America and the European Union’.
The document shows that more than 181,000 Europeans left their countries in 2012, in comparison with the 119,000 Latin Americans moving in the opposite direction. The data show a reduction of 68% in the latter flow compared to 2007, when the number of migrants moving from Latin America and the Caribbean to Europe stood at over 350,000 people, its highest level ever.
Spain is at the top of the list of countries with the highest number of citizens emigrating in search of new opportunities in Latin American states, with 181,166 emigrants to Latin America in 2012. It is followed by Italy, Portugal, France and Germany.
In 2013, 8.5 million international migrants lived in Latin America (1.1 million originating from the EU), 500,000 more than in 2010 and 2.5 million more than in 2000.
“In recent years, changes in migration flows between Latin America and Europe show once again that these flows naturally evolve according to socioeconomic fluctuations and that they have the potential to act as a tool for adjusting and responding to structural economic crises”, explains Laura Thompson, assistant director-general at IOM.
An example of the adjustment she mentioned is the increase in migration between Latin American countries. In 2013, Argentina took the lead, receiving 238,700 immigrants from other Latin countries (28% of the total), followed by Venezuela, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.
What about Brazil?
While the migration issue is growing in importance in Brazil, which is establishing itself as a transit and destination country for migrants, the IOM study shows that Brazilians continue to migrate to other countries.
According to the IOM, Brazil is the Latin American country which sends the highest numbers of migrants to Europe, followed by Colombia, Peru and Ecuador. It is also the country which receives the highest amount of remittances from the European Union (US $1.596 billion), comprising 22% of the total amount sent to Latin America (data from 2012).