With its new immigration law, Portugal could benefit from Moroccan labor

Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Souda approved, on Thursday 4 August, the reform of the immigration law, aimed at making the recruitment process of foreign workers, especially non-Europeans, more fluid.   
This new immigration law was voted by the Parliament in July, and provides for the granting of a temporary visa, for a period of 120 days, extendable by 60 days, for foreigners seeking employment, according to Portuguese media. According to the media, Rita Marks, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Tourism, said Tuesday that her country will need about 50,000 additional employees for a better economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.   
It aims to address the lack of manpower in key economic sectors, namely construction and tourism. Like other countries around the world, the hotel industry has been the sector hardest hit by the labor shortage in Portugal. “Portugal needs immigrants because of its demographics, economy and culture,” explained Ana Catarina Mendes, Minister of Parliamentary Affairs.   
The Moroccan community in Portugal was in 2012 about 4000 individuals, today, after a decade, it should be between 8,000 and 10,000. This
means that the country has never been attractive for Moroccan labor, among other things, because the minimum wage in Portugal remains among the lowest in Europe, 822 euros gross for 40 hours worked per week.

To remedy the situation, Morocco and Portugal agreed last May to create a working group to facilitate legal employment and safe migration flows between the two countries.  Indeed,
the agreement signed by the Minister of Economic Inclusion, Small Business, Employment and Skills, Younes Sekkouri, and the Portuguese Secretary of State for Labor, Miguel Fontes, provides for the mobility of youth, students and workers.

Five months earlier, the two countries had signed an agreement on the employment and residence of Moroccan workers in Portugal. Morocco, known for its important human capital, is an exporter of labor in the direction of France and Spain like several Maghreb countries, such as Tunisia and Algeria, or as Poland and Romania. A workforce that Portugal would like to benefit for the post-Covid recovery.  

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