Like other European countries Portugal has a long history of emigration dating back to the colonial past. Immigration, in turn, is a relatively recent phenomenon. After immigration, beginning in 1974, had overcome emigration for almost three decades there has been a growing migration deficit since the mid-2000s. In other words, at levels that are only parallel to the population movements of the 1960s and 1970s.

According to the UN, Portugal presented na emigration rate of 22.1% against an immigration rate of 8.1%, being the origin of migrations to countries with more stable economies in Europe – the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Germany – and the destination of migrations originating in Cape Verde, Romania and Brazil. Considering the four countries analyzed in the project, Portugal not only has the highest percentage of exits but also distances a lot from the others (4.9%; Australia 2.2%; Angola: 1.9%). The same source indicates that among the total number of portuguese emigrants (2 306 321), 4% lived in Germany (98 464), 1% in Australia (20 044) and 1% in Angola (15 528). UN data indicate the presence of 837,257 immigrants in Portugal, in 2015, among which Angolans represent 18% of the flows (151,273), Germans 3% (26,048) and Australians 0.1% (1 164) only.