Exploitation of migrant workers in Portugal threatens PM Costa’s reputation

Mar Marín

Lisboa, May 13 (EFE).- The exploitation of often undocumented migrant workers in the Portuguese agricultural sector is threatening to undermine Prime Minister António Costa’s reputation during the last stretch of Portugal’s rotating EU presidency.

At the heart of the political scandal lies the southern town of Odemira, where Covid-19 infection rates ran rampant among African and Asian workers living in cramped and unsanitary accommodations.

The region has been sealed off while the rest of the country gradually emerges from a coronavirus lockdown.

Authorities have rushed to find alternative accommodation for migrants and announce an investigation on the matter.

But Odemira is not a unique case in Portugal.

“This is a part of our reality which is not new, nor unknown,” said the prime minister.


The Alentejo region, traditionally a major source of agricultural products in the country, is now controlled by a handful of farming companies producing olives, oranges, almonds, berries and avocados.

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