Immigrants’ social security contributions will reach 1.5 billion euros in 2022, an increase of 19% compared to 2021, the vice-president of the Social Security Institute (ISS) revealed on Tuesday.
In a hearing at the parliamentary committee on Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees, Catarina Marcelino presented figures for 2022 on immigrants who are net contributors to the social security system, clarifying that the 630,000 workers who contributed 1,500 million euros represent 13% of workers registered with the Portuguese social security.
The head of the ISS, along with heads of the Inland Revenue, the Aliens and Borders Service and the Working Conditions Authority, appeared in parliament at a hearing called by the PCP into combating human trafficking and facilitating illegal immigration to exploit migrant workers.
Catarina Marcelino emphasized that “the development in the last seven years is very positive”, noting that since 2015 “the weight of workers with foreign nationality has increased from 3% to 13%.”
“In 2021 the balance of contributions and social benefits paid in relation to the foreign population was (positive in) almost one billion euros compared to 2015, which in that year was 350 million,” he said, stressing that these results and the development, especially in the last year “also had the effect of facilitating mechanisms of registration and attachment to the system”.
For the vice-president of the ISS, these figures objectively show that “immigrants are an asset to the system and that they contribute positively to the sustainability of social security”.
However, he highlighted the cases of immigration, especially from countries outside Europe, with “social vulnerabilities” due to not speaking Portuguese, lack of social and family network, cultural misbehavior, lack of knowledge of the social organization and institutions of the host country. , who have weaknesses and who are sometimes victims of labor exploitation and are at the mercy of situations of great need.
According to Catarina Marcelino, these migrant flows come mainly from Asia, Morocco and more recently citizens from East Timor.
Social security described these migrants in fragile situations as isolated individuals, male, of working age, without a primary support network, without sources of income or very low income, irregular work, ineligible for social benefits, low level of knowledge of the Portuguese language and low education level.
“In these situations of greater vulnerability and social exclusion, the ISS provides support under the social action subsystem, which is implemented in accommodation, food, access to medicines and other basic goods, as well as psychosocial support,” he said. that ISS opened seven welcoming spaces in the districts of Beja, Braga, Bragança, Porto and Santarém with a capacity of 230 people.
Since the creation of the first reception center, in Beja in August 2022, this equipment has had 100% occupancy. Catarina Marcelino also stated that 23% of the contacts made to the social emergency line in 2022 were from immigrants, a total of 848, and in January 116 foreigners called, representing 31% of the total.