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Immigrants paying social security denied equal access to healthcare

tractorplougingTens of thousands of Portugal’s, ‘undocumented’ immigrants, the backbone of thousands of farms and labour-intensive businesses, are paying social security contributions but have no eqivalent access to the State healthcare system.
 
“There are 30,000 migrants without documents in Portugal who rightly claim that they are in limbo,” said Timóteo Macedo, the president of the pressure group, Solidariedade Imigrante (Immigrant Solidarity.)*
 
"One of the problems is access to health care," says Macedo. "There are thousands of people who do not have a card to go to the hospital and have to pay full price for routine care despite paying their contributions - and that's not fair."
 
The president of Immigrant Solidarity cites the case of a worker who went to the hospital to receive treatment, had to pay full price depsite paying into the system and returned to work to find that he had been sacked as he did not have a contract.
 
"This is the daily bread for immigrants who cannot get legalised. By denying them access to citizenship, Portugal is taking away all their rights," added Macedo.
 
"We had the case of a five-month pregnant woman who was refused treatment at health centres because she did not have a patient card, although the law is clear about the universality of prenatal care," said Marina Bertolami, who ran a survey for Immigrant Solidarity.
 
According to this study, an emergency admission for an undocumented immigrant generally costs between €90 and €130, but for someone with papers, “no more than €20.”
 
"If these people pay social security, they should have the same conditions," says Bertolami.
 
A 2010 study by the Immigration Observatory, led by João Peixoto, estimated the annual contribution of immigrants to Social Security was €318 million.
 
Timóteo Macedo commented that, "These people are building up economic sectors that were lost, such as agriculture,  and are contributing to the sustainability of the social security system. Getting them legalised is in the interest of the country."
 
Portugal’s Prime Minister, António Costa, has stated that, "It is crucial to strengthen the information mechanisms on rights, conditions and support, as well as the agility of the legalisation process for incoming workers and those already in the country."
 
All Costa has to do now, is turn his noble words into actions.
 
_________
 
*Solidariedade Imigrante is a national, not-for-profit organisation, set up in 2001 in order to defend the rights of immigrants in Portugal.
 
We claim an independent voice, so we may fully take part in the struggle for the defense of our common rights and interests.
 
We want everyone to be in a position to exercise their rights as citizens, without regard to country of origin, religion, race or gender.
 
We belong to various national and international organisation networks: Plataforma de Associações de Imigrantes, Rede de Combate a Exclusão Social e Pobreza, a Plataforma artigo 65 – Habitação para tod@s and the No-Vox network. We are also part of the Portuguese social forum.
 
We are a resistance and pressure group. We believe in solidarity between Portuguese and foreign citizens, in order to defend interests that are common to all workers.
 
Our organisation counts thousands of members, from over 80 different countries. Every day, we keep up the fight for our financial autonomy.
 
Those who help us, help the organisation, through their membership and monthly contribution, in a spirit of dependability, in a shared struggle.
 

Comments  

+1 #4 Diedre 2018-05-15 08:58
Harrison, your comment about too important employers, can I respectfully suggest you root around the rich source of material in the back issues of ADN? One character mentioned several times being the recent case of the Beja advogado (see link) so heavily involved with the Alentejo and Romanian mafias running slavery teams that he was forging signatures on social security documents - claiming to be both a social security officer and the accountant verifying the activity!
The advogado being briefly inconvenienced by a local Beja court case that cleared him of any wrong doing then a later higher level Lisbon case targeting the Romanian Mafia that hoovered him up and jailed him for a few weeks. By Portuguese legal ethical standards nothing in the slightest to get steamed up about so this lawyer never lost his right to practice. There being no ethical correlation in Portugal between having specialist legal training and misusing it!
http://www.lidadornoticias.pt/en/beja-advogado-indiciado-dos-crimes-de-trafico-de-pessoas-e-usurpacao-de-funcoes/
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+2 #3 Ed 2018-05-14 21:36
Quoting Harrison:
Ed: Please can you define "Undocumented Migrants"? Is it like the homeless, rough sleepers that the UK has been shipping back to their EU country of origin (if it can be ascertained and who now want to sue the UK!) or are these non-EU Africans and Afghans etc
If these researchers can ferret these "Undocumented Migrants"out then why cannot the forces of law and order? Or are the employers just too important and must not be bothered with EU Equal Rights legislation ?
I suspect many of these are the workers who are contracted to work on farms, such as the large red fruit businesses that have sprung up. They pay social security but have no residency documentation. I will see what I can discover.
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+4 #2 Harrison 2018-05-14 20:54
Ed: Please can you define "Undocumented Migrants"? Is it like the homeless, rough sleepers that the UK has been shipping back to their EU country of origin (if it can be ascertained and who now want to sue the UK!) or are these non-EU Africans and Afghans etc
If these researchers can ferret these "Undocumented Migrants"out then why cannot the forces of law and order? Or are the employers just too important and must not be bothered with EU Equal Rights legislation ?
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+3 #1 mj 2018-05-14 20:52
and I see how in the uk homeless people who were deported recenty are to receive compensation

strange how this single european world works
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