chapter  10
19 Pages

Immigrants' social citizenship and labour market dynamics in Portugal: Maria Ioannis Baganha

Introduction During the 1980s southern European countries became for the first time powerful magnets for growing numbers of immigrants arriving mainly from neighbouring African countries and eastern Europe. While in western Europe the stock of the foreign population was growing at an average rate of approximately two per cent every year, in southern Europe this same process was occurring at the much higher rate of approximately 10 per cent per year. The legal foreign population within the borders of Italy, Spain, Greece and Portugal increased by almost three-fold between 1981 and 1991. 1

The existence in southern Europe at the end of the 1980s of close to 1.4 million regular migrants and of an estimated 1.3 to 1.5 million irregular migrants2 implied that the economic insertion of immigrants in Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal was intensely taking place in the informal labour market. The simultaneous occurrence of special processes for the mass regularisation of illegal immigrants in Italy, Spain and Portugal in 1992 and 1996 suggests that the informal economy was the primary space of insertion for new arrivals during the 1990s. Immigrants' economic incorporation in the informal labour market thus came to be perceived as a distinctive feature of southern European migratory processes. This chapter's objective is to identify the impact of this mode of economic incorporation on immigrants' access to full social citizenship. The analysis centres on Portugal and is guided by two questions: (1) I ask which system of social entitlements is endorsed by the political mainstream towards extra-communitary (non-ED) migrants? (2) I seek to identiry the exogenous factors that may divert governments from fully implementing the system of social entitlements that has been formally endorsed, as well as immigrants from acting in order to ensure the broadest possible access to full social citizenship.