Opportunity in the Emerald Isle

Why Brazilians are Migrating to Ireland

11 JAN 2022
Photo Credit: Medium

Before we dive into the first Terrain Analytics blog post of the new year, we wanted to take a moment to wish you and your families a Happy New Year. We thank you for your support in 2021 and look forward to working with you in 2022!

Brazil --> Ireland

Ireland is known for citizens emigrating in periods of hardship. However, Ireland is also an attractive country for many immigrants – like Brazilians. Since the 1990s, Brazilians have immigrated to Ireland to work, study, and make a better life. Due to this immigration, Brazil is now the 6th most common country of origin for foreign nationals living in Ireland and is the only non-EU country in the top 10 countries of origin.

When looking at software engineers in Dublin & Cork, 51% of engineers are non-Irish. Brazil, in particular, makes up the second most common country of origin for engineers immigrating to Ireland. Our data shows that 8% of software engineers in Dublin and Cork are from Brazil – second only to Indian software engineers.

There are several reasons why Ireland is so popular with Brazilian nationals in general and software engineers. To understand why, let’s look at the history of Brazilians moving to Ireland.

3 Waves of Brazilian Migration

Since the 1990s, there have been 3 waves of Brazilian migration to Ireland. The first began in the 1990s. After the embassy opened in 1991, Brazilian factory workers began migrating to Ireland to take advantage of the Celtic Tiger boom in the 1990s and early 2000s.

After the Celtic Tiger boom ended and factories closed, the second wave of Brazilian migration began. This wave largely consisted of students looking for better opportunities than they could find back in Brazil. However, once the recession hit in 2008, many Brazilians moved back to Brazil.

As the global economy recovered, the third wave of Brazilian migration began. This time, mostly engineers and IT professionals migrated to Ireland in search of better job opportunities than those available in Brazil.

No visa required

Brazilians have been migrating to Ireland for decades. But, why?

One of the main reasons is that Brazilians only need a work permit to migrate to Ireland. Other countries (like the U.S.) require Brazilians to get a visa to work there, which is a lengthy and difficult process. In contrast, Ireland only requires Brazilians to obtain a work permit, which can take as little as a month. For software engineers and other critical skills workers, getting a work permit is even easier. With a job offer and minimal documentation, Brazilians can get their critical skills work permit. Plus, this special work permit makes it easier for Brazilians to bring their family with them.

Because Ireland has a shortage of engineers and IT professionals, there are also a lot of job opportunities in Ireland for software engineers. So many opportunities make it easier to find a job to qualify for a work permit, which is another reason there are so many Brazilian software engineers in Ireland.

Study + Work

Another draw of Ireland for Brazilians is the ability to study and work at the same time. Whereas other countries don’t allow foreign students to work, Ireland allows students to work up to 20 hours a week. During holidays, students can work up to 40 hours a week. To be eligible to work, all Brazilians need to do is apply for a residence permit after arriving in Ireland.

Moving to another country to study is expensive. Ireland allowing Brazilians to work while studying makes the move more financially feasible. This ability to work while going to school in Ireland is another reason Brazilians are moving to Ireland.

Learning English and Traveling

Speaking English is an in-demand skill in Brazil and elsewhere. However, many citizens of the Portuguese-speaking nation have little opportunity to learn or practice English.

As an English-speaking country, Ireland provides opportunity for Brazilians to practice their English. With the easy work permit process, Brazilians have fewer hoops to jump through to work on their English when compared with other English-speaking countries (like the UK).

Ireland is also the only EU country with English as its primary language. Working or studying in Ireland allows Brazilians to improve their English while getting the perks of an EU country – mainly the ease of travel. So, Brazilians can more easily travel to see other countries while studying in Ireland when compared with the UK or U.S.

Because Ireland provides opportunity to learn English and travel to other countries, it’s popular with Brazilian immigrants.


For 30 years, Brazilians have moved to Ireland in search of work, school, and better opportunities. Ireland is the location of choice for many Brazilians because it does not require a visa, the relative ease of obtaining a work permit, the ability to study & work at the same time, and the opportunity to learn English and travel extensively.

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