Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Accounting for Brazilian migration

To a workshop/seminar on Brazilian migration in the UK last night: some interesting statistics, including indications that around 60% of the population is here illegally and that the number entering really began to increase from 2002 on. This would make sense, especially given Brazilians’ greater visibility beginning in that year through the new media and easier availability of Brazilian products in London.

But I had to ask why it’s only been in the last decade that Brazilians began coming to the UK in such greater numbers. Cathy McIlwain of Queen Mary who presented the data said it had much to do with US borders becoming much tighter, especially in the wake of 9/11 on the one hand and London becoming more open to migrants.

Yet I find it odd that this is the case: why wasn’t there a boom after 1994 when the real plan led to a current revaluation – and therefore making it relatively cheaper to buy a plane ticket. Similarly, shouldn’t the economic tightening of the later 1990s and especially the 1998-99 financial crisis have also encouraged migration? (one participant suggested that the devaluation may have made it more difficult for Brazilians to buy a plane ticket). But then I’m also bemused why more middle class Brazilian migrants would choose to leave for the UK and experience (initial) downward mobility (another finding by Cathy), given the boom in the domestic economy after 2002.

So many questions...

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