There are over 30,000 Asian migrant workers across Portugal, according to estimates by civil rights organizations. The success of Portuguese agriculture in recent years has become its curse. As the country exports more and more berries and vegetables, the demand for cheap labour has soared. But Portuguese people no longer want to do this work.
Most of them are in the country semi-legally, still waiting for their Portuguese papers. They live in inhumane conditions, often working more than 10 hours a day and brutally exploited by dubious temporary employment agencies that place them on farms.
Some live in residential containers or crammed into derelict houses, forced to depend on mafia-like employment agencies. Officially, they work for the state-guaranteed minimum wage of around €600, but they have to pay their employer for accommodation, transportation to the workplace and even food. This often leaves them with only €10 or less per working day.