The return to liberal democracy in Portugal led to the independence of its overseas colonies in 1975. Large numbers of Portuguese residents emigrated shortly after, most of them to Portugal, where they were called retornados, while others moved to neighbouring Malawi, Rhodesia, or South Africa, and/or Brazil and the United States. Most notable legacy of Portuguese Mozambican settlers in South Africa is Nando's, created in 1987, which incorporated influences from former Portuguese settlers from Mozambique, many of whom had settled on the south-eastern side of Johannesburg, after Mozambique's independence in 1975. Among the departed Portuguese civilians, many were allowed to take with them only a single suitcase and $150 (150 escudos), with all household materials left in their respective houses. All of the remaining Portuguese 'settlers' were given by the government a 3-month decision to choose Mozambican citizenship and join FRELIMO, the communist party, or to go away. Many people wanted to stay and be Mozambican but did not want to join the communist party. This caused serious problems and many had no choice but leave. This was subsequently reported in many newspapers and used by Mozambican politicians as 'The Whites abandoned the country'. This is not correct and it is not what happened.  Thousands more Portuguese would leave during the subsequent civil war, most of these fleeing to South Africa, Swaziland, or Portugal.
When the Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries was founded in 1996, many Portuguese and Portuguese Brazilians arrived for economic and educational aid to Mozambique. They have helped increase Portuguese-language fluency especially in remote rural places and improved the economy, as the metical has a large value converted from the Euro. Many among them have adopted the country as their permanent home. Many more Portuguese settlers returned from Portugal, it is estimated by the Mozambican embassy that about 6,000 returned.