In a remarkable flip of traditional migration patterns, European workers are now fleeing that continent’s shrinking economies for booming Brazil and other emerging South American markets. And, like the migrants who once flooded into the Western world, Europeans aren’t afraid to use a bit of subterfuge. Last week a São Paulo newspaper detailed how a gay Spanish student contracted a fake marriage to gain residency. “I know three Germans in Rio who did the same,” he told Folha.
Though Brazil’s bureaucracy doesn’t make it easy to get residency permits, the country desperately needs highly trained foreign-born workers, including 20,000 engineers a year. Last month Brazil’s investment agency made a seductive pitch to skilled workers in Spain and Portugal, where unemployment tops 20 per cent, to move for a few years to the economic powerhouse so they could send much-needed money back home. Expatriate Brazilians are also rushing home to get in on the action, many using their foreign experience to set up businesses. And create more demand for workers.