Portugal prepares to welcome workers, especially Moroccans

In January 2022, Morocco and Portugal signed an agreement on the employment and residence of Moroccan workers in the country, which is part of the dynamic of modernizing the partnership instruments between the two countries.

Eight months after the signing of this agreement, Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa agreed to reform the law on immigration with the aim of simplifying the process of welcoming foreign workers, particularly non-Europeans.

During this month of August, local media report, the Portuguese parliament passed a new law on immigration, which provides for the granting of a temporary visa, lasting 120 days extendable by 60 days, foreigners looking for work.

Quoted by the media, the Portuguese Minister of State for Tourism, Rita Marx, said on Friday that her country will need around 50,000 additional employees to achieve a better economic recovery following the Covid-19 health crisis, noting that Portugal aims with this decision, to remedy the shortage of labor in key economic sectors, namely construction and tourism.

Like many countries in the world, the hospitality sector has been among the activities most affected by the labor shortage, and the same is true for Portugal. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ana Catarina Mendes said that as things stand, her country has ” need of immigrants due to its demographics, economy and culture“.

Portugal has never been an attractive destination for Moroccan workers, due to the minimum wage which is still among the lowest in Europe, and which stands at around 822 euros for 40 hours of work per week. In 2012, the Moroccan community settled in Portugal was around 4,000 people. A decade later, this figure has climbed to between 8,000 and 10,000 Moroccans.

In this sense, Morocco and Portugal agreed last May to set up a multisectoral working group aimed at facilitating employment and legal and safe migration flows between the two countries.

Indeed, the agreement signed last January by the Minister of Economic Integration, Small Business, Employment and Skills, Younes Sekkouri, and the Portuguese Minister of State for Labour, Miguel Fontes, provides for mobility young people, students and workers.

This agreement constitutes “a cornerstone to complete the building inaugurated by Morocco and Portugal for the benefit of the citizens and the economies of the two countries”, declared Younes Sekkouri at the time of the signing.

It has an “important” dimension insofar as Moroccans wishing to go to Portugal to work there will be able to do so under “very favorable” conditions, he added.

Known for its significant human capital, Morocco is an important source of labor for European countries, notably France and Spain, or, like many Maghreb countries, Poland and Romania. A workforce that Portugal would like to use to recover from the health crisis.


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