Arthur Pinheiro Machado – Forbes, 12/2/2014
With immigration on (or near) the top of everyone’s minds in the U.S. lately, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at immigration’s effect on Brazil. A continuous inflow of highly qualified immigrants is a key factor in any country’s development. By attracting and retaining talent, an economy benefits from new entrepreneurs and the businesses and jobs they create. Brazil is beginning to reap the benefits of a recent inflow of highly skilled professional immigrants, and is looking for new ways to maintain that growth and attract even more successful foreigners.
Taking a look back at immigration in Brazil at the end of the 19th century, the country experienced a strong surge which would eventually become a turning point in the country’s evolution from a low-level industrialized society to a developed one. Brazil was able to tap into consolidated industrialization in Europe, where manpower from rural areas flooded into cities unable to absorb them. Brazil was waiting with open arms and took in millions of immigrants from countries such as Italy, Portugal, Spain and Germany.
This migratory wave enabled Brazil to not only diversify agriculture and end its dependence on coffee, but also boosted the urbanization and industrialization that significantly enhanced economic growth. The immigrants settled in the larger cities, which lead to economic progress in the state of São Paulo and laid the foundation for major industries in the south of Brazil that were critical for development.