The Odemira Public Prosecutor’s Office has 11 inquiries on aid to illegal immigration for the purposes of labour exploitation, a source from the Attorney General’s Office (PGR) told Lusa.

Yesterday the Mayor of Odemira, José Alberto Guerreiro, stated yesterday that the situation of agricultural workers in the municipality, in the district of Beja, is “enough material” for the creation of a parliamentary commission of inquiry.

On Sunday, he revealed that he filed a complaint about situations that he considered suspicions that are the basis of the existence of “many migrant workers” in the municipality of Odemira.

The Prime Minister had earlier stated that the Government had decided to enact a health cordon in the parishes of São Teotónio and Almograve, in the municipality of Odemira, due to the high incidence of cases of covid-19, especially among workers in the agricultural sector..

The head of Government also underlined that “some population lives in situations of unacceptable unhealthy housing, with overcrowding of dwellings”, reporting situations of “enormous risk to public health, in addition to a stark violation of human rights”.

According to provisional data from SEF sent to Lusa, 9,615 legal immigrants resided legally in the municipality of Odemira, district of Beja, 2,353 of whom were citizens of Nepal and 2,328 of India, followed by citizens of Bulgaria (930) , Thailand (785) and Germany (591). SEF added they work mainly in agriculture, whose companies have Europeans in management and management positions.

SEF states that in 2019 in the municipality of Odemira, there were 8,157 foreign citizens, the nationalities of Indonesian origin stand out, with agriculture, especially greenhouses, the sector of activity that most immigrants employ.

SEF states that related to this agricultural activity, there is the presence of some European citizens who hold positions of direction and management in these companies.

According to SEF, the majority of immigrants remain in this region for a period of time that allows them to “obtain economic means to return to the country of origin and access a better standard of living or remains for many years, with the immediate objective of bringing the family”.

Indian workers of the company The Summer Berry Company Portugal, an agricultural company of red fruits, during a lunch break, in Odemira, Beja, March 29, 2021. Photo by Mário Cruz / Lusa.