More migrating from EU to Latin America & Caribbean

There has been a marked increase in migration from the European Union (EU) to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), and a marked decrease in the number of LAC migrants entering the EU, a new report shows.

The EU-funded IOM study “Migratory routes and dynamics among Latin America and Caribbean countries (LAC) and between LAC and the European Union,” attributes the shift to the economic crisis affecting the EU, and in particular Spain, the main destination country for LAC nationals.

According to the report, in 2008 and 2009, more than 107,000 Europeans, including dual nationals, left their home countries to live in a LAC country. Most went to Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela and Mexico. The main source countries were Spain (47,701), Germany (20,926), Netherlands (17,168) and Italy (15,701.)

According to the report, the largest group were young, single Spanish and Portuguese men with higher levels of education in social sciences or civil engineering, who emigrated to LAC countries hoping to advance their careers.     

While the study confirms that migratory flows from LAC countries to the EU have gradually increased since 2000, they decreased from a peak of some 400,000 in 2006 to 229,000 in 2009.

But it notes that almost 4.29 million people from LAC countries still reside in the EU, notably in Spain, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy and France, and almost 1.25 million EU citizens are currently living in LAC countries.

The study also highlights the importance of intra-regional migration. It notes that over four million migrants residing in LAC come from another country in the region. Most come from Colombia, Nicaragua, Paraguay, Haiti, Chile, Argentina and Bolivia.

The main countries of destination for intra-regional migrants are Argentina, Venezuela, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.

Touching on the link between migration and development, the study notes that women in particular have been pioneers in migration from LAC to the EU, and the remittances they send back to their families in their home countries have been essential to development in the region.

Remittances from the EU to the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) reached USD 7.25 billion in 2010. Those from CELAC to the EU were USD 4.66 billion.

Remittance flows inside the CELAC region reached USD 4.57 billion in 2010, with Colombia, Nicaragua and Paraguay benefiting most from remittances sent by their nationals working in Venezuela, Costa Rica and Argentina.