Rui Pena Pires, scientific coordinator of the Observatory of Emigration, a research centre of ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, spoke during the presentation of the Emigration Report, according to which in 2019 around 80,000 Portuguese had left Portugal.

The document indicates that in that period 596 Portuguese acquired Spanish nationality, 58.1 percent more than the previous year (377). In 2017 that figure was 135.

The number of Portuguese who acquired Spanish nationality "has varied annually between about 400 and 600 per year until 2010. It increased to 1,265 in 2013 and fell to 135 in 2017, rising again in 2018 and 2019.

Spain is the seventh country in the world where most Portuguese acquired the nationality of the country of destination in 2019", the document reads.

For Rui Pena Pires, for about two years the statistics now include Portuguese descendants of emigrants in Venezuela who were choosing to live in Spain.

The fact that the Castilian language is common in both countries and the relationship between these Portuguese and Spanish emigrants will have contributed to this choice, with their request for Spanish nationality, as Rui Pena Pires explained.

According to the report, the number of Portuguese emigrants in Spain totalled 94,319 in 2019, having fallen by 0.2 percent compared to 2018.

"The number of Portuguese immigrants in Spain has decreased slightly in recent years, from 149,000 in 2010 to around 94,000 in 2019. Despite remaining on a high base, the Portuguese population in Spain has been declining, meaning that new arrivals have been insufficient to compensate for possible returns and remigrations," the document reads.

The authors state that "the Portuguese are a minority among those born abroad living in Spain in 2019, representing only 1.4 percent of the total, the lowest value of the series under analysis".

Spain is currently the eighth country in the world where more Portuguese emigrants live. In 2019, the number of Portuguese entering Spain totalled 10,155 (less 4.5 percent).

The report cites United Nations estimates that in 2017 there would be more than 257 million international migrants worldwide, a figure corresponding to 3.4 percent of the world's population, of which 2.3 million would be Portuguese.

In that year, Portuguese emigrants accounted for 0.9 per cent of the total number of emigrants, seven times more than the weight of Portugal's population in the total world population (0.14 per cent).

"Not being one of the major emigration countries, such as Mexico or India, with more than 12 million emigrants each, in 2017 Portugal was the 27th country in the world with the most emigrants", the document states, adding: "In Europe, only seven countries had more emigrant populations (Russian Federation, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Poland, Germany, Romania and Italy, in descending order)".

When weighted by the number of emigrants by the population of the country of origin, Portugal, with an emigration rate of 21.9 percent, was the 13th country in the world with the most emigrants.

In the European framework, "Portugal was, in 2017, the first European Union (EU) country with the most emigrants as a percentage of the population (21.9 percent). In contrast, as regards the percentage of immigrants in the resident population, it was one of the countries below the EU average (8.5 percent)".

"The combination of high emigration and low immigration, in cumulative terms, places Portugal in the group of European repatriation countries, where Lithuania, Romania, Bulgaria and Poland are also found", the authors of the document mention.

According to Rui Pena Pires, Portugal has "a secure margin for growth" for an increase in immigration, which would be "the safest way to balance the flow" of migration.

The scientific coordinator of the Observatory on Emigration considers that its size means that immigration is not even currently a relevant phenomenon in Portugal.

According to the report, Portugal has 2.2 million emigrants living abroad and 880,000 immigrants.

Present at the presentation of the document, the Secretary of State of the Portuguese Communities, Berta Nunes, underlined the increased qualification of Portuguese emigration, which should soon be mirrored in the next OECD reports.

The most recent data from this organisation refer to 2011 and indicate that qualified emigration rose from 6 percent in 2001 to 11 percent in 2011. According to Berta Nunes, this increase has been much greater in the meantime.