The interpretation is by the sociologist and scientific coordinator of the Emigration Observatory, Rui Pena Pires, for whom “there are differences between the objectives of remittances from the past and today”.

Speaking to Lusa, the sociologist underlined the size of the remittances sent by emigrants to Portugal - 3,677.76 million euros in 2021 - which is similar to that of European funds.

But he added: "The big difference is that community transfers contribute directly to development and remittances only indirectly contribute."

“It doesn't mean that remittances don't contribute to the country's development, but they contribute regardless of the objective they have. They contribute because they increase the purchasing power of the countries where remittances are sent, to improve the country's foreign exchange reserves and can be used for investments,” he said.

In 2021, Portuguese emigrants in Switzerland were once again the ones who sent the most remittances, totalling 1,051 million euros during the last year.

But France – the country with the most Portuguese emigrants – probably sent more remittances, but they were not accounted for due to lack of records, he said.

Older emigrants are the ones who send more remittances, because “it is the way to have confidence in the realization of their savings”.

“We have stories of Portuguese emigrants who continue to build their houses to one day return or for the holidays and continue to do so as they did 30 years ago”, he said.