The mobility of health professionals in the European Union is a phenomenon which policy-makers must take into account to provide the conditions to adjust for demand and supply of health services. This paper presents the case of Portugal, a country which at the same time imports and exports health workers. Since the early 1990s Portugal became a destination country receiving foreign health care professionals. This situation is now changing with the current economic situation as fewer immigrants come and more Portuguese emigrate. Foreigners coming to Portugal do so in part for similar reasons that bring Portuguese to want to emigrate, mainly the search for better work conditions and professional development opportunities. The emigration of Portuguese health professionals is also stimulated by the difficulty for recently graduated nurses, dentists and diagnostic and therapeutic technicians to find employment, low salaries in the public and private sectors, heavy workloads, remuneration not related to performance and poor career prospects. The paradoxes described in this study illustrate the consequences of the absence of a policy for the health professions. Strategies based on evidence, and on an integrated information system that captures the dynamic evolution of the workforce in health are not only necessary but also a good investment.