Home News Number of foreigners working in Portugal boasts biggest increase since Troika bailout

Number of foreigners working in Portugal boasts biggest increase since Troika bailout

Published on 17/03/2020

Throughout 2019 Portugal attracted the most foreign workers it had seen since the 2011 Troika bailout. Last year, there were 34 thousand more workers moving here than in 2018, reinforcing a trend that had started to become noticed in 2017.

The current estimated number of foreign employees employed has reached the highest value since the year of the bailout, exceeding 155,000 thousand people. In 2011 there were 151,500 individuals.

The calculations stem from an employment survey done by the National Statistics Institute (INE), showing that the number of foreigners working in Portugal experienced the biggest jump between the years of 2018 and 2019 – a 28% jump.

The existing data shows that the number of foreign workers reported in 2008 is yet to be reached, at this time more than 178 thousand foreigners were working in Portugal. After the 2009 financial crisis, the number of workers immigrating steadily decreased, reaching the lowest value in 2016, a year in which the number dropped to a total of only 103,000

According to the INE, 40% of the foreign population working in Portugal are between 15 and 34 years old – which exceeds the proportion of Portuguese citizens in this age group, accounting for only 25.3% of the workforce. This means that foreign workers are more likely to move to Portugal to begin working as a young adult, whereas Portuguese citizens make up a smaller proportion, as they are more like to emigrate elsewhere.

This is also the case in the immediately higher age group, of adults between 35 and 44 years old. The foreigners employed are proportionally more than the Portuguese. Only in the age group of 45 or older do the employed Portuguese population proportionally make up a majority of the workforce over their younger peers. As is normal in immigration, younger people are overrepresented – while figures for national workers present them as older.

Also from the point of view of qualifications, foreigners are proportionally more qualified. Those qualified with secondary school education make up 43% in the foreign workforce, but only 28.6% of the national. In higher education, the proportional in the foreign and citizen workforce are very close.

Despite statistically higher or similar qualifications as the Portuguese, foreigners earn, on average, a lower net monthly income. The most significant share is between 600 and 900 euros per month, as do national workers, but the biggest difference is in the highest income bracket. About a third of the Portuguese workforce are at this level, against about 18% of the foreign workforce.

A detailed graphical breakdown can be seen on the DN website HERE