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Emerging countries to welcome many Europeans escaping the crisis

01 March, 2012 11:01  EasyExpat EasyExpat

Map, globe, compass, book.In Athens, many shops are now closed in the city centre. In Dublin, you can see many advertisements showing Sale or Rent near Grafton Street. Spain has a record 20% unemployment. In Greece, the economic collapse has affected how many people are unemployed. With the different austerity budgets, people cannot even get a less qualified job. Many of the jobs requiring the fewest skills - taxis, drivers, barmaids - have already been taken by immigrants.

With the crisis in Europe (and the US), it is interesting to see that more and more people have decided to immigrate and leave their home country. They are looking for more comfortable life somewhere else and are attracted by countries recruiting and with positive economic growth.

Albert O. Hirschman wrote a treatise in 1970, "Exit, Voice, and Loyalty", opposing the assumptions of liberalism and explained that people (any form of human grouping, nation, business...), have essentially two possible responses when they disagree with what the organization is doing : they can exit (withdraw from the relationship); or, they can voice (attempt to repair or improve the relationship through communication of the complaint, grievance or proposal for change). So those European who are leaving have decided to take the exit option because they consider that it is no longer possible in Europe to change things. [We wrote a previous article on those who decided to voice and demonstrate, read HERE]

South America is the new economic heaven for many expatriates

Goldman Sach's chairman Jim O'Neill published a paper in 2001 entitled "Building Better Global Economic BRICs". The acronym refers to the countries of Brazil, Russia, India and China (not to mix up with BRICS, including South Africa, which is an organisation in charge of promoting those growing economies - this is confusing! :-( ). Although Russia and China have problem of their own, including a democratic deficiency, India and especially Brazil have become more and more attractive in the last few years, as more modern countries are in turmoil.

While the European populations and the United States are suffering with the crises, countries in South America are competing with each other in order to attract the experienced workforce that they need to sustain their growth.

A post graduate student in economy in the US could have expected a monthly salary of $3,000 before the crisis. Carata Capital, a Brazilian newspaper, gives the example of a young American professional who decided to go to work in Brazil for $500 (now $1,500 as he joined the financial department of his company), in order to avoid the mass of unemployment since the 2008 crisis. The salary looks very low, but you have also to consider the equivalent cost of living. This is a topic that was discussed recently on our expat forums, where some expatiates show that it is not necessary to spend a lot to enjoy life in their adopting country (although prices in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo are skyrocketing!).

There are about 100,000 Spanish residents living in Brazil, a population that has nearly doubled within the last 2 years. And more than 50,000 Portuguese arrived in the country last year. Some people estimate the number of foreigners (officially registered) in Brazil to be around 1.5 million, but there is a lack of reliable statistics.

Most foreigners coming from Europe and the US are well qualified and are able to complete immigration peaceful into 6th world economy. However, Brazil has experienced problems accepting the new imigrants. On the one hand, experts, architects, builders and engineers are much needed everywhere in the country and Brazil desperately needs to attract them, looking for talents in Italy, Portugal and Spain. The lack of a qualified workforce is quite similar to many expanding countries, especially in South America. On the other hand, they have now more complaints against the discrimination of non-Portuguese speakers from the federal police. There is also a lack of schools teaching Portuguese for foreigners.

The Brazilian government is currently discussing changes in the immigration rules (which currently date  from the dictatorship in 1980). Looking at the selective rules of the Australian process, they aim to attract 400,000 qualified immigrants in their local industry, which is facing $500 billions of investments for the Football World-Cup and the Olympic Games. They are planning to grant the same civil and social rights to immigrants as to Brazilians, as well as creating new types of visas and passports. In Uruguay, with a similar problem, the Minister of Labour said that "they have to define a type of profile for the immigrants in term of their priorities, according to the needs". Indeed, they need to reassure the local population that while granting the same social rights, the immigrants are not taking the jobs of the nationals.

North and South: two different Europe

For the first time in 20 years, the number of those leaving Spain is bigger than those coming in (until 2008, at least 500,000 immigrants came to work in services and building sectors). People are moving away from Greece, Italy, Ireland or Portugal. And not only youths: those who move abroad are often middle class, college graduates with qualifications.

Today Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark and even the United Kingdom (although with its own economic crisis) are in the list of chosen destinations.

The Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden has published the latest migrant statistics: +135,000 immigrants, with 75% coming from other European countries. Many come from Poland and Eastern Europe, but more and more often Spanish (2,400) and Greeks (4,100). During the first 6 months of 2011, immigrants from Spain were 49% more than the previous year, 84% more from Greece.

Germans are seeking to fill hundred of thousands of technical and qualified positions. In Spain they have good universities and 20% unemployment (50% amongst youths). As a result, they organise employment forums and even some sort of "speed-dating" for jobs where German companies and foreign candidates have 30 minutes to decide whether they are interested in each other.

But the dream is not always an actuality upon arrival. Immigrants who wanted to become engineers, may have to start as house-maids or builders. The Spanish daily El País tells the story of immigrants in the north of Europe, struggling not only with the language but also with equivalent qualification needed, the cold winter, and getting help from the charity Robin Hood, which targets poverty.

It is the occasion the read our guides for expatriation to the BRIC countries, but also to Germany (and even Australia, with needs but a very selective visa process):

Guide for expatriates in Rio de Janeiro


Expatriation to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (and also Sao Paulo)


Guide for expatriates in Moscow


Expatriation to Moscow, Russia


Guide for expatriates in Mumbai


Expatriation to Mumbai, India (and also New Dehli and Bangalore)


Guide for expatriates in Shanghai


Expatriation to Shanghai, China (and also Beijing)


Guide for expatriates in Munich


Expatriation to Munich, Germany (and also Frankfurt and Berlin)


Guide for expatriates in Sydney


Expatriation to Sydney, Australia


  And read experiences directly from expatriates with our expat blog directory.

[main source: Courrier International - Carta Capital, El Observador, Stern, Corriere della Sera]


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