Social media and migrants’ perceptions: Portugal as a potential host country for Brazilian workers

Keywords: Perception Geography, labor market integration, youtube, Brazil, Portugal


Social media use is increasingly affecting the various stages preceding the decision to emigrate, including the selection of final destination. Future migrants meaningfully use ICT to connect with those workers who are already living abroad, as a result more accurate perceptions of host societies are emerging through peers’ experiences. This study evaluates the specific role played by YouTube in the way Brazilians are creating their mental images of Portugal. A sample of 135 YouTube videos were analyzed, in which Brazilian emigrants share their testimonies of adaptation to the Portuguese reality. The conclusions point out to a mismatch between the low skills’ jobs, locally available in the Portuguese labor market, and the higher qualification profile of many Brazilian workers who moved to Portugal. If expectations must be reduced in terms of economic prosperity, there is a consensus regarding a higher quality of life, in a broader sense, experienced by Brazilian migrants after their decision to live and work in Portugal.

Based on the specific results of this study it possible to highlight some consensus among the testimonies analyzed which, for that reason, assume a non-negligible importance in the perceptions about Portugal that are being structured by potential Brazilian migrants, also due to the high number of views and shares these videos receive. These points of consensus deserve reflection by those who study migrations and define policy guidelines on migratory processes, especially in a country whose government has assumed the importance of immigration as a way to mitigate the effects of the alarming demographic ageing of the Portuguese society. Among these points of consensus are the warnings about the initial difficulties of integration into the labor market and the need to accept job offers that do not match the qualification profiles and professional skills developed in Brazil. There is also a warning about the need to reduce expectations regarding an eventual ambition of a substantial improvement of the financial conditions of these migrants. Although such difficulties do not condition an evident progress in terms of comfort and quality of life, which ends up providing a general satisfaction among Brazilians who decided to choose Portugal as their emigration destination.


Download data is not yet available.

Author Biography

Flávio Nunes, University of Minho, Campus de Azurém, 4800-058 Guimaraes, Portugal

PhD (Geography), Assistant Professor at the Department of Geography


Amadeo, Douglas and Golledge, Reginald (2004). Environmental perception and behavioral geography. In Gary Gaile and Cort Willmott (eds.) Geography in America and the dawn of the 21st century. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 133-149.

Aversa, Joseph; Hernandez, Tony and Doherty, Sean (2020). Spatial Big Data and Business Location Decision-Making: Opportunities and Challenges. In: E. Vaz. (ed.) Regional Intelligence. Cham: Springer, pp. 205-224.

Bunting, Trudi and Guelke, Leonard (1979). Behavioral and perception geography: a critical appraisal. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 69(31), pp. 448-462.

Cooke, Thomas and Shuttleworth, Ian (2017a). Migration and the internet. Migration Letters, 14(3), pp. 331-342.

Cooke, Thomas and Shuttleworth, Ian (2017b). The effects of information and communication technologies on residential mobility and migration. Population, Space and Place, vol. 24, nº 3, 11p.

Fearnley, Francesca (2020). Social media as a tool for geographers and geography educators. In Nicola Walshe and Grace Healy (eds.) Geography Education in the Digital World. Linking Theory and Practice. London: Routledge, 12 p.

Guerra,I. (2006). Pesquisa qualitativa e análise de conteúdo. Sentidos e formas de uso. Estoril: Princípia Editora.

Hamel, J.Y. (2009). Information and Communication Technologies and Migration. Human Development Research Papers Series, vol. 39, N. 2009, 46 p.

Huang, Qunying and Wong, David (2016). Activity patterns, socioeconomic status and urban spatial structure: what can social media data tell us?, International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 30:9, 1873-1898.

Iqbal, Kashif; Peng, Hui; Hafeez, Muhammad; Khurshaid, K. (2020). Analyzing the Effect of ICT on Migration and Economic Growth in Belt and Road (BRI) Countries. Migration & Integration 21, 307–318.

Martins, L. & Silva, J. (2018). As Representações Sociais de portugueses sobre os imigrantes brasileiros no Youtube. Terra Plural, vol.5, n.1, pp. 51-64.

MPG – Migration Policy Group (2020). Migrant Integration Policy Index 2020.

Pinto, Joana (coord.) (2019). Desafios demográficos: o envelhecimento. Coimbra: Edições Almedina.

Tuan, Yi-Fu (2004). Perceptual and cultural geography: a commentary. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 93(4), pp. 878-881.

Truzzi, O. (2008). Redes em processos migratórios. Tempo Social, vol. 20, n.1, pp. 199-218.

Zhang, Hongchao; van Berkel, Derek; Howe, Peter; Miller, Zachary; Smith, Jordan (2021). Using social media to measure and map visitation to public lands in Utah, Applied Geography, vol. 128, 11 p.

How to Cite
Nunes, F. (2022). Social media and migrants’ perceptions: Portugal as a potential host country for Brazilian workers . Human Geography Journal, 33, 15-20.
Наукові повідомлення