More than 58,000 Brazilians live in Ireland, with 40% intending to stay

More than half the respondents to embassy report say they have experienced discrimination

More than 58,000 Brazilians are living in Ireland with a growing number working in professional roles, a quarter having Irish partners and more than 40 per cent saying they do not intend to return to Brazil, according to a new report.

The survey, published on Friday by Brazil’s embassy in Ireland, suggests 78.5 per cent of the estimated 58,500 Brazilians living in the State have arrived since 2016.

Almost two-thirds came to learn English, 61 per cent had a visa specifically allowing them to study but 60 per cent have successfully changed their immigration status since arriving.

The report is based on a survey of almost 4,000 Brazilian nationals living in Ireland and research work carried out by consultants, Unleashe.


Despite high levels of fluency in English, participation in the workforce and social engagement with Irish people, just over half the respondents said they had experienced discrimination.

Brazil’s ambassador to Ireland, Marcel Biato, said the findings of the survey, highlighting the “seamless” integration of Brazilian people into Irish life, was a good response in a week when an unprovoked assault on Brazilian man Roberto Gomes dos Santos jnr in Limerick made headlines.

Mr Biato said the embassy had been in touch with Brazilians living in Limerick and Irish authorities to ensure everything possible was done to counter the threat of further similar violence happening.

The survey findings suggest there has been a substantial evolution in the type of work being undertaken since Brazilians arrived in the 1990s to work in Irish meat processing plants and on construction sites. Some 85 per cent of those surveyed have higher level qualifications and a growing number work in areas such as information technology and professional services.

It found 61 per cent of Brazilians in Ireland live in Dublin, with 8 per cent in Cork. Some 16.6 per cent reported owning their own homes; a quarter said they had children, two-thirds of whom were born in Ireland.

Some 60.3 per cent of respondents said they had a complete or strong sense of “belonging in Ireland”.

The estimated population is more than twice the 27,338 recorded in the 2022 census, which the researchers believe underestimated numbers for various reasons. Among these were the number of Brazilians with Italian citizenship who recorded only that on census forms; and the number who have overstayed on visas or are otherwise undocumented.

It also suggests, however, that the number of Brazilian people in Ireland increased by 8,500 between 2022 and when the survey was carried out late last year and earlier this year.

The 2006 census put the number of Brazilian people living in Ireland at 4,388, but the latest research suggests they make up more than 1 per cent of Ireland’s total population.

Mr Biato described the research as “the first of its kind, a pioneering effort to provide a detailed profile of Brazilians living in this country”. He said it provided “a wealth of information about many aspects of the personal and professional lives of this population, as well as its main concerns and aspirations”.

With the research suggesting more than 80 per cent maintain strong links to home or their culture, Mr Biato said the embassy was working to support a new generation of Brazilian-Irish who he hoped would be “true ambassadors of their dual inheritance”.

However, he said this would happen only “if the new generation learns to value diversity and practise tolerance. This is an especially urgent challenge in the face of the threat of the normalisation of anti-immigrant sentiment.”

Speaking at the publication of the report, Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan welcomed the positive findings of the research, which he said would be of value to the Government.

“I think most people understand that the Brazilian community has integrated very well, the key figures were those who people socialise with and whether they feel welcome here,” he said.

Referencing the recent attack in Limerick, which the victim said was racially motivated, Mr Ryan said the Coalition was committed “to do everything in our power to ensure that stops, to stamp it out and foster a culture which is welcoming, which is our tradition”.

He also cited his own experience “on the illegal migrant work trail in the US and Australia”.

“It wasn’t illegal in London but I remember the feeling I had the first night I was there, how lonely it was to be in a foreign country. So we know what it’s like and we need to get this right.”

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone

Emmet Malone is Work Correspondent at The Irish Times