Foreign workers sustain population growth in Portugal

  • Lusa
  • 10 October 2019

According to a study from Bank of Portugal, foreigners have contributed to the increase in the active population.

The active population in Portugal is growing sustained by the significant contribution of foreign workers, typically younger and more educated, according to a study by Banco de Portugal published today in the Economic Bulletin.

According to the study, after a fall in the active population (employed and unemployed population between 15 and 64 years) between 2008 and 2016, it started to grow from 2017 and, “since mid-2018, the foreign active population has made it possible to sustain the evolution of the active population in Portugal”.

“Despite its small relative weight, the foreign population resident in Portugal has increased recently, very much in line with the evolution of migration flows”, according to the October issue of the Economic Bulletin.

In the first half of this year, the number of foreigners residing in Portugal of working age (15-64) was 198,000, i.e. 3.0% of the working age population. Active foreigners were 158,000, equivalent to 3.2% of the active population, which amounted to 4.8 million people.

With regard to the increase in foreign immigrants (since half of the immigrants are Portuguese returning to the country), the study used the Employment Survey of Statistics Portugal (INE), to show that the increase in the foreign resident population in Portugal has grown mainly due to the significant increase in citizens from Brazil, Italy and the United Kingdom and from countries outside the European Union.

According to data from the INE’s Employment Survey, there were 248,000 foreigners living in Portugal in the first half of the year.

According to this study, foreigners have contributed to the increase in the active population due to the demographic factor – since the proportion of younger individuals, of working age, is higher than that of the national population – and because they participate more in the labour market (the activity rate of foreigners was 80% in the first half of 2019, 4 percentage points above the activity rate of the Portuguese).

Also according to Banco de Portugal, it is foreigners who have led to the rejuvenation of the active population, since the Portuguese active population is increasingly elderly.