It’s not the first experience Argentines have looked for shelter in Europe in times of economic concern. Thousands and thousands emigrated to the old continent to evade hyperinflation in the early 1990s and an economic meltdown in 2001 and 2002.
Nowadays, Argentines are getting rid of purchasing power to just about 50% annual inflation rate – one of the world’s worst. Many have also protested President Mauricio Macri’s choice to cut subsidies, resulting in a spike in the costs of resources and public transport.
Last year, the Argentine peso shed more than half its worth to the U.S. dollar following a run on the local currency, letting the government seek a record $56 billion bailout loan with the International Monetary Fund to end up the recession.
“As a direct result the financial crisis, as well as the devaluation, more young professionals, are thinking about a future in Europe,” said Alejandro Servide, director of professionals and recruitment process outsourcing at Argentina’s branch of Randstad, the world’s second-largest staffing company.
There exist no official statistics available on how many Argentines have migrated to European countries. Argentina’s immigration directorate claimed it is extremely hard to monitor the number because Argentines leaving the country won’t provide information on their destination or how long they’ll remain.
However, academics, research groups and consulting firms accept there has been an upturn in the number of people leaving, especially among young, educated Argentines – just like there was during the nation’s worst crisis 17 years ago.
“When Argentina suffers through these profound crises, people look for options, and just like it happened in 2001-2002 when nearly 800,000 Argentines went abroad, today we’re residing through the initial phase,” said Ariel Gonzalez, executive secretary of the Center for International Studies at the Catholic University of Argentina.
“There are lots of, Argentines residing here. We’re like pigeons – everywhere,” quipped Paz Pucheu, an Argentine now living in Spain.
The 25-year-old radio and television announcer went to Barcelona in 2017 when “things got really complicated” in Argentina. She began working at a restaurant and also eventually landed a job at a local radio station.
“Like other Latin American countries, Argentina was a Spanish colony. With colleagues now we joke around that we’re colonizing our colonizers,” she said.