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Trekking to former colonies

Across the border from Spain, the number of Portuguese heading to former colonies Brazil and Angola for work has increased sharply since 2008.

The trend has accelerated since last year when Portugal got a bailout of its public finances, according to statistics based on consulate and embassy registrations.

Portugal’s prime minister suggested last year that unemployed teachers should consider heading to former colonies for work. The country does not track youth emigration, but researchers say it is rising.

One of Mr. Gonzalez del Castillo’s friends is a 26-year-old Spanish civil engineer who graduated in October and moved to Brazil last month, after a six-month job hunt in Spain that netted not a single job interview. She represents a sharp reversal for countries like Spain and Portugal, which for decades were on the receiving end of migrants from Latin America.

She already has had better luck in the booming business hub of Sao Paulo, getting an interview within two weeks of arriving. The woman did not want her name revealed because she entered Brazil on a tourist visa and fears she could be deported if caught seeking work.

In bailed-out Ireland, emigration has become a defining national characteristic. More than 76,000 people left last year, representing 1.7 percent of the population.

They joined 200,000 who have departed since 2008 at the end of a property boom that collapsed. Their top destinations are Britain, Australia, Canada and the United States.

Official statistics show that the vast majority of those leaving are in their 20s and 30s.

Orla Kelleher, executive director of the Aisling Irish Community Center in Yonkers, New York, said the volume of newly arrived Irish job seekers had multiplied six times “if not more” since 2009, after the implosion of the “Celtic tiger” economy.

Brian Whelan, 28, moved to London from Dublin two years ago after being recruited to work on the Irish pages of the Yahoo news site. Many of his Dublin friends are living outside the country, many in Canada.

“If I hadn’t landed a job in advance, I’d have been heading to London anyway,” said Mr. Whelan, who now works as a freelance journalist.

“Irish people are not having any difficulty landing jobs abroad. It’s often the best and the brightest who are going abroad. Some of the best-trained and most able young people are leaving because Ireland can’t afford to keep them.”