Photo released by Maritime Police after third boatload of Moroccans intercepted off Algarve coast in six month period in 2020

Portugal lets in Moroccan workers – bid to stop illegal immigration

Portugal and Morocco have signed an agreement setting out legal guidelines for Moroccans to live and work in this country, as part of an effort by the two countries to fight illegal migration and human trafficking.

The deal was signed yesterday (Wednesday) after acceptance that undocumented migrants seeking a way into the EU have been increasingly targeting Portugal.

Explain reports, “authorities feared smugglers were testing Portuguese border controls amid a European crackdown on migrants in the Mediterranean Sea and high fatalities on the sea route between Africa and Spain’s Canary Islands”.

The Portuguese Foreign Ministry has said in a statement that the agreement allows for the recruitment, hiring and immigration of Moroccan workers, ensuring they have the same rights and duties as Portuguese workers.

It “resulted from a multisectorial coordination effort in both countries and has great political scope in allowing the deepending of the historic and fruitful bilateral relationship, through the promotion and protection of the dignity and human rights”, said the ministry.

As Associated Press has explained, “Portugal is short of workers, especially in construction and farming, and has a low birth rate that threatens the sustainability of its social security system, especially old-age pensions”.

In other words the taxation spin-off from this new pact could be mutually beneficial.

Very little however has been said about whether the agreement means Moroccan workers will be free to start circulating the rest of Schengen Space, which is understood to have been the reason for the increasing incidents of illegal immigration by sea in the first place.

natasha.donn@algarveresident.com