Portugal’s Foreigners Law Might Cause a Stir, as Research Says It Does Not Align With EU Policies

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A recent statement by a researcher in Portugal might fuel populist anti-immigrant speeches in the electoral campaign, as she has pointed out that Portugal’s law regarding foreigners does not align with that of the European Union.

According to Researcher Ana Rita Gil, this law allows those who are in the country irregularly to be regularised without the necessary documentation, indicating that non-Portuguese nationals can remain in the country easily, while Portugal is already dealing with increased immigration, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

These articles, each with their own requirements, allow a person to enter illegally, with a tourist visa and without the necessary documents, and then stay, work, and, after a year with discounts, apply for regularisation.

Researcher Ana Rita Gil

Gil, who is also a professor at Lisbon Public Law (Research Centre for Public Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Lisbon), points out that because of this legal framework, she believes this will lead to a rise in far-right or more extremist discourses, as the Portuguese have already started reacting to the sharp increase in immigration.

Article 88 of the law of foreigners allows citizens of other countries who have entered Portugal legally, with the purpose of expressing interest, to apply for a residence permit provided they have an employment contract and are registered with social security.

You will have to own an evidence of a regular entry in Portuguese territory and that you have a valid contract of employment or a promised employment contract, among others.

Portugal-Legal.com

This article, as well as the other one that enables self-employed professionals or entrepreneurs to apply for a residence permit, is believed to be the reason for the high volume of pending regularisation processes, estimated at 300,000.

The research also pointed out that the work-seeker visa was created to encourage people to come legally straight away, but the consulates don’t have enough staff and aren’t able to respond to requests, so “people end up preferring to continue coming illegally.”

According to Gil, the country is also going against the EU laws with its Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) authorisation. She noted that Portugal could not create residence permits that are not recognised in the Schengen area.

The articles (88 and 89) also go against “the history of decisions by the European Council,” which has made recommendations against this type of measure that essentially lures immigrants.

Statistics Portugal reveals that the resident population in the country has increased by 49,249 inhabitants compared to the previous year.

It is estimated that, in 2022, 117,843 permanent immigrants have entered Portugal, 21.3 per cent more than in 2021 (97,119), and that 30,954 permanent emigrants have left, 23.4 per cent more than in 2021 (25,079). The migration balance was positive (86,889) for the sixth consecutive year.

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