Emigration has long been a problem for Paraguay. During 1955–70, some 650,000 Paraguayans emigrated, mainly to Argentina; more recently, the net loss from emigration has averaged an estimated 5,000–6,000 a year. Most of these emigrants live in Argentina, Uruguay, or Brazil. Much of the labor force of agricultural regions in Argentine border provinces is made up of Paraguayan nationals. The greatest exodus occurred after the 1947 civil war, but in the 1960s there were new waves of political emigration.
Immigration to Paraguay was limited to a few thousand Europeans during the 19th century. A major attempt by the Paraguayan government to encourage new settlers led to negotiations with Japan in 1959 for the immigration of 85,000 Japanese by 1990, but only about 8,000 arrived. An immigration agreement was signed with the Republic of Korea (ROK) in 1966. In 1985, the immigrant population totaled 199,500; the leading immigrant groups were Germans, Japanese, Koreans, Chinese, Brazilians, and Argentines. It was believed, however, that the actual number of Brazilians was 300,000 to 350,000. The number of migrants residing in Paraguay in 2000 was 203,000. The net migration rate in 1999 was -0.09 migrants per 1,000 population. Worker remittances in 2000 amounted to $152 million, or 2% of GDP. The government views the migration levels as satisfactory.