The International Federation of Catalan Entities (FIEC) quotes fresh data from the official statistic body of the Spanish government, according to which there has been a surge of Catalans moving abroad. If in 2009 and 2010 the sum was barely above seven thousand, only in the first quarter of 2011 amounts to 3.827. Presumably things are headed to the highest migratory wave of the last years. Who are the new migrants? It looks very much like a brain drain of young an educated people in search of opportunity.
There is not yet research, but it seems safe to assume the new migrants are mostly young and educated, for several reasons. First, the younger generations of Catalans have a higher level of education than their parents, if only because the lack of jobs acts as an incentive for further studying. Second, holiday travel and EU funded work and study stages abroad but inside the EU have made the “living abroad” experience more common. Third, the Spanish work market, and in Catalonia is not different, does not give much chance to the young: among them unemployment is massive and many of those who work are paid up to 1000 euro salaries.
Economic crisis is stirring a general predisposition to move abroad. In a latin country like Catalonia, this is a deep change. The same organisation FIEC quoted recently another study by a consulting firm, according to which a 90 per cent of the questioned would be ready to move abroad if the right work opportunity is provided. Meanwhile, political and economical elites in Catalonia seem to be unaware of this loss of human capital. Truth to be told, fiscal plundering from the Spanish government and budget cuts leave the Catalan government little room for active policies and at least try to stop the brain drain.