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Portugal’s Foreign Labour Force Up by Over Half-a-Million Workers in 7 Years


The number of foreign workers in Portugal has skyrocketed in the last five years, recording a 364 per cent increase, Minister Ana Mendes Godinho has revealed.

More specifically, the number of foreign workers in the country rose from 140,000 recorded in April 2015 to a total of 650,000 workers in April 2023, showing a difference of 510,000 workers, reports.

“These figures show the dimension of the number of foreign workers who are entering the Portuguese labour market, but it also means that we really have to have this capacity to have foreign workers working in Portugal, precisely to respond to the great challenges of attracting and retaining talent in organisations,” the Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security said during a presentation of the Annual Report on the Evolution of Collective Bargaining in 2022.

She also pointed out that there are 180,000 more workers declared to the Social Security services from January to April of 2023, compared to the corresponding period in the previous year. Comparing the number of workers declared in 2015 with those of 2023, over one million more workers were declared during this period.

As per the average salary declared to Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho also mentioned that, during the first four months of 2023, there was an increase of around eight per cent in the average salary that each worker in Portugal earns.

The country is particularly focused on increasing the number of workers in the tourism industry as tourism occupants are expected to increase by 20 per cent. The Interior Ministry has introduced measures that set the number of professionals with secondary and higher education to rise by ten per cent, as well as increasing the number of all students in tourism, regardless of the level of education by 15 per cent.

These measures come as a result of national efforts to make Portugal an attractive destination for working as well as studying. These rates help Portugal to address and prevent labour shortage, which threatens any European country.

The Iberian country is especially impacted by developments in the tourism industry as the latter serves as an important revenue generator. In four months alone, Portugal’s municipalities have received €2.14 million in funds from the tourist tax. More specifically, between January and April 2023, tourist numbers have risen by 41 per cent and have paid millions in tourist tax – introduced in 2023 for the first time.

The tourist tax of €2 is paid by every person that spends a night in any accommodation facility and applies only to passengers who are over the age of 13.