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Opposition challenges decision over employment incentives

An initiative introduced by the government, labelled Employment Passport (Passaporte Emprego), to provide youngsters with paid internships that could lead to employment, has been criticised by the regional PS Socialist party for excluding the Algarve region.

The Algarve’s PS group accused the government of “profound insensitivity” for leaving the Algarve out of the Employment Passport programme.

Recalling that the region is the most affected by unemployment in Portugal, the leader of the local opposition party, Miguel Freitas, says he cannot understand the reason behind the government’s decision not to give youngsters in the Algarve the opportunity to receive a “passport” with employment prospects.

As part of the recently launched programme, youngsters between the ages of 16 and 34, regardless of their levels of education, will be given the opportunity to apply for the Passaporte Emprego, an official grant to encourage businesses to create work placements for those unemployed.

Responding to the accusations made by the opposition, Miguel Relvas, Parliamentary Affairs Minister, said: “The Passaporte Emprego project is part of a wider initiative called Impulso Jovem, which will include the Algarve. In this first phase, only a few regions (Centre, North and Alentejo) were included.”

The minister said the National Employment Institute was addressing the issue in order to establish how much money was needed to include the Algarve’s jobless.