Immigrants donate over a billion euros to social security in 2020 – Observer

Immigrants in Portugal contributed more than 1 billion euros in social security contributions in 2020 but received only 273 million euros in social benefits, according to a statistical report from the Migration Observatory.

One of this report’s metrics, which applies to 2019 and 2020, shows that “like other social phenomena, there are some misconceptions about the relationship between immigration and social inclusion or social protection”, given that social security benefits from positive balance that these people represent.

According to the report, this positive balance was 884 million euros in 2019 – “the highest value ever achieved” – and 802.3 million euros in 2020.

This is because, in the ratio between the contributions of foreigners and what they receive from the social security system, immigrants contribute a significantly larger amount than what they have, “a very positive and favorable relationship in Portugal”.


In 2019, for example, this contribution amounted to 995.5 million euros, but they received only 111.1 million euros from social benefits, which results in a positive balance of 884 million euros.

In 2020, this surplus will decrease slightly to 802.3 million euros, given that despite having contributed 1,075.2 million euros, they received 273 million of social benefits.

On the other hand, the report states that, “as in previous years”, immigrants show a greater ability to contribute than nationals, as they have 64 contributors for every 100 inhabitants compared to 45 Portuguese contributors for every 100 inhabitants.

“Foreigners, compared to the total number of residents in Portugal, still have fewer social benefit recipients per total contributors: in 2020 for foreigners the ratio is 52 per 100 contributors, while for the total number of residents the ratio is 83 beneficiaries per 100 contributors,” the report says.

In the same year, immigrants make up 9.2% of total Social Security payers, which is “an unprecedented relative importance (and more pronounced than one might expect, given that they make up only 6.4% of the resident population)”.

An extended explanation for this phenomenon is the application of the “NISS na hora” measure for foreign nationals who wish to carry out a subordinate or independent activity in Portugal and have a relationship with the social security system.

Despite the high contribution to social security and the corresponding low payment of social benefits, foreigners living in Portugal “pose a greater risk of poverty and live in greater material deprivation”, and in 2020 this was 20.2% of the total population . Population.

“These results, associated with greater vulnerability, poverty and deprivation of foreigners, do not lead, however, to their greater dependence on the country’s social protection,” the report says.

The report also shows that “immigrants play a key role in the efficiency of labor markets.”

“Without immigrants, some sectors of the economy and activities would collapse,” he says, noting that they have “higher activity rates than national ones,” but are still more represented in major occupational groups.

According to the report, in 2019 Portugal reached an unprecedented figure of 590,348 foreigners living in the country (5.7% of the total population), which exceeds half a million foreign residents, and in 2020 this figure will increase to more than 662,000 people. .

It also states that “Portugal is returning to a positive migration balance in 2017, which has strengthened significantly in 2019 (+44,506) and 2020 (+41,274) after a negative migration balance between 2011 and 2016 as a result of an increase in permanent exits and reduction of entry into the country.

This is despite the effects of the covid-19 pandemic, which has led to mobility restrictions between countries, border closures throughout 2020, and the definition of new administrative measures around the world.

“The reasons for the entry of foreigners into the country were mainly related to studies, family reunification and pensioners,” the document says, which warns that not all immigration profiles are of interest to the country, given the accentuated demographic aging.

In terms of socio-demographic characteristics, the immigrant population is mainly concentrated in urban coastal areas, the number of men outnumbers women, there has been an increase in the number of citizens from countries such as Italy, France or the United Kingdom, and a decrease in the number of PALOP (Portuguese) citizens. -speaking African countries) or Eastern Europe.

It should be noted that “foreigners continue to make a significant contribution to the birth rate in Portugal”, taking into account that in 2020 foreign women were responsible for 13.5% of all live births in Portugal.

“Very significant relative importance when the foreign population this year is only 6.4% of the total resident population of the country,” notes the Migration Observatory.

A value that puts Portugal only 18th in the ranking of 27 European countries with resident foreigners.

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