Brazilians attend a meeting at the ‘Brazil house’ association created
by Brazilians living in Portugal, in Lisbon July 17, 2019. — AFP pic

FLEEING poverty, crime and Bolsonaro, Brazilians choose Portugal.

''RETURNING to Brazil is out of the question,'' says Alexandre Saboia. The Lisbon restaurateur is among tens of thousands of Brazilian entrepreneurs, workers, students or frightened gays who have flocked to Portugal as a safe haven, preferring it over Britain or the United States.

Portugal has not seen such a flood of Brazilian immigrants in two decades, sparked by the 2015 economic crisis in their home country and this year's election of far-right President Jair Bolsanaro, Brazilians are now Portugal's largest foreign population.

More than 100,000 Brazilian immigrants were officially registered in 2018, a record set following a jump of 23.4 percent in a year, according to data from the SEF border police.

Sociologist Pedro Gois of the University of Coimbra estimates that nearly 300,000 Brazilians currently live among Portugal's 10 million people.

Saboia, who emigrated last year with his wife and two teenaged daughters, said that ''insecurity was getting worse, by the day'' in Sao Paulo, the world's largest Portuguese-speaking city.

''We hesitated between Miami and Lisbon. In the end, we chose  Portugal for its security and the language,'' said the greying 44-year old. [Agencies]


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