By Tanja Goodwin
Earlier this week, we pointed out the new wave of emigration from Portugal to its former colonies. As the number of emigrants has increased, so has the emigrants’ skill level. The new generation of migrants is no longer made up of blue-collar workers, but of teachers, advertisers, engineers and architects. “This amounts to a hemorrhaging of highly educated people—the very people [the euro zone’s weakest economies] will need if they are to take off when circumstances get better,” says Demetrios Papademetriou, president of the nonprofit Migration Policy Institute in Washington.
The specter of “brain drain” has haunted international organizations and think tanks for decades, threatening that emigration of skilled workers would leave poor countries short of the human capital needed to develop. After much research, this simplistic concept has been largely overthrown. Today, almost everyone recognizes the benefits arising from income gains to the emigrants, greater human capital in the source country, knowledge transfer and remittances. Almost everyone.
By Tanja Goodwin
Expect to see controls on African migration increase dramatically any time soon. Oh, and just to clarify: that’s migration TO Africa, not FROM Africa.
Portuguese, facing high unemployment and their economy plagued by austerity, are flooding the shores of Angola and Mozambique. Angola has again become Portugal’s El Dorado as unprecedented numbers of Portuguese workers have flocked to the former colony: from 2006 to 2009 alone the number of visas issued for Portuguese increased from 156 to 23,000. Some already complain about difficulties in obtaining legal permissions to stay in Angola. The number of Portuguese workers settling in Mozambique has increased by more than 30 percent over the past two years.
It’s likely just a matter of time before some African countries limit their “green cards” to prevent European immigrants from stealing Angolan and Mozambican jobs. Undoubtedly, Africans will try to protect their cultural identities by banning Port Wine from their menus, for example. Immigration officials may soon be allowed to deny pregnant Portuguese women entry into Angola or Mozambique at their discretion to avert the birth of “anchor babies.”