“One of the difficulties that the Portuguese have had, which leads them to not be eligible for immigration programs is because they do not have a high level of education and their level of English or French is very low. This is the biggest problem,” said immigration consultant Renata Brum.

However "it is something that has been changing" and in recent years you can already see "Portuguese with some professional qualifications and university studies", she stressed.

Born in Rabo de Peixe (Azores), in living in Canada since she was four, the 52-year-old Portuguese-Canadian was a Citizenship judge between 2006 and 2012 and a main Citizenship judge between 2013 and 2018.

The immigration system created by the Canadian Government is based on a system in which points are given for various factors, describes the consultant, giving as an example the age of the candidates, “because the younger the better”, or the knowledge of one of the official languages , “The higher the better,” and the level of education itself.

“The more points you have, the more easily you can be approved for permanent residence in Canada. I'm not just talking about the Express Entry program, but these factors - education, knowledge of one of the official languages ??- also count in the other programs,” she added.

Data sent to Lusa by the communications office of the Canadian Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship and Refugees (IRCC) reveals that between 2015 and 2020 the country's authorities issued 4,785 permits to stay in the country to Portuguese citizens.

A relatively low number, compared to almost 20,000, of permanent residences to Brazilians in the month period, a figure that does not surprise the Portuguese-Canadian.

“It is no surprise to me, because when she was a Citizenship judge at the ceremonies, she met people from different parts of the world and recognised some Portuguese names. Most were from Brazil,” she explained.

Renata Brum, who is now an immigration consultant, reveals that Brazilians “have a level of high education” and belong to a very young age group of “25 to 35 years old” and seek to live in Canada because “it is a country of opportunities”.

IRCC data indicate that 19,155 permanent residents were assigned to citizens from Brazil in the period between 2015 and 2020.

A large part are international students and are looking to the North American country to study English or French, with a temporary work permit valid for a period of three years.

As for the other Portuguese-speaking countries, 220 permanent residences were guaranteed to Angolans and 15 to citizens of Guinea-Bissau in the same period.

The IRCC indicates that Canada has allocated a total of 1,380,360 permanent residences in the past five years.

The 2021 data is not yet available.

Canada's immigration levels have dropped 46 percent, the lowest level in the past two decades.

Quarantine measures and restrictions due to the pandemic are the main cause of the drop in this number.

In 2020, Canada hosted 184,370 permanent residents, less than the intended 341,000.

In the 2021 to 2023 plan, 411,000 permanent residents are expected annually.

For this year, Ottawa aimed to welcome 401,000 new residents, but for now it is unknown whether it will be possible to achieve this goal.

According to data from the Canadian Government, more than 480,000 Portuguese and Portuguese descendants reside in the country.