Foreigners contribute €1.6Bn to Social Security
30.8% of workers are unskilled and are less dependent than the Portuguese on social support.
Foreigners in Portugal continue to be more represented at the bottom of the labour market, have greater ability to contribute, depend less on social security handouts and receive lower salaries, compared to the Portuguese.
These are some of the data contained in the annual statistical report on migrants authored by the Migration Observatory, released yesterday.
There are more than 400 pages of official statistics, studies and information that account for the
complex scenario that Portugal is experiencing in the area of migration reports daily news source Diário de Notícias.
Now in its eighth edition, it repeats some of the facts already mentioned in the same
document in previous years: “Without immigrants, some economic sectors and activities would
At the same time, average salaries are 5.3% lower than compared to Portuguese workers. In
addition to receiving less, more than 30% of workers are unskilled, while nationals represent only
Even so, money remittances to countries of origin have been increasing, with an increase
of 3.7% in 2021 and 5.3% last year. Brazil continues to be the main destination for transfers,
representing almost 50% in 2022, while China is in second place with 7.3%.
Statistics also show that foreign workers in Portugal’s economy have
more higher education qualifications, with 12% compared to 4% among Portuguese.
The data reflects the countless cases of citizens of Brazil, the largest foreign community in Portugal, who do not practice their professions in the country and work in sectors such as services.
The contractual relationship is also unfavourable to migrants. Only a third of professionals have an
open-ended contract, while this is the reality for more than two-thirds of Portuguese people.
In this aspect, the study does not cover data on workers and green receipts, found in the most
varied professional areas, from catering to intellectual activities. Most of the data is also from
2021 and 2022, which excludes workers who arrived after this period – many of them still waiting
The complex picture results in a panorama that places migrants at “a greater risk of poverty and
material deprivation” than nationals. In 2021, the index was 36%, an increase of 17.1% compared
to the previous year.
In housing, foreigners are equally disadvantaged, the document stressing that “the greater association of immigrants with overcrowded accommodation is evident, and access to housing ownership is much more difficult than for the native population”.
13.5% of taxpayers
Another conclusion of the report, which follows a trend from previous years, is that migrants are
important to “counterbalance the Social Security system’s accounts, contributing to the relative
balance of payments in the system and its overall sustainability”.
In 2022, while 48 for every 100 Portuguese residents contributed to Portuguese Social Security,
the number rises to 87 when the contributors are foreigners.
Migrants who chose Portugal to live represent 13.5% of those who contribute to the country’s tax system and contributed more than US$1.6Bn to Social Security; an increase of 43% compared to the previous year.
According to the author, the available data also proves that it is a myth that foreigners overload
Social Security when benefiting from support. Based on the resident population, migrants
represent 38 per 100 beneficiaries, while among nationals the same rate is 79.