LISBON, Portugal (AP) — Lisbon and Rabat are negotiating a deal that would allow an agreed number of citizens from Morocco to work legally in Portugal, a senior Portuguese official said Wednesday.
The announcement came amid fears that undocumented migrants seeking a way into the European Union are increasingly targeting Portugal.
On Tuesday, a wooden boat carrying 28 African migrants arrived on the southern Portuguese coast. It was the sixth boat known to arrive this year, bringing the total of captured migrants to almost 100.
That trend has started a debate on whether traffickers are testing Portuguese border controls amid a European crackdown in the Mediterranean Sea and high fatalities on the sea route between Africa and Spain’s Canary Islands.
Interior Minister Eduardo Cabrita told reporters that Portugal and Morocco are weighing a proposal on legal migration. He said Portugal is short of workers, especially in construction and farming.