Friday

25th Sep 2020

Lisbon stops legalisation of immigrants after avalanche of applications

  • Around 9.9% of the 5.8 million people workforce in Portugal are foreigners (Photo: EUobserver)

A new Portuguese law regularising illegal immigrants has been suspended only a few weeks after coming into effect following huge interest from hopeful immigrants.

In the first five days after the law came into effect on 3 August, the government's Service of Foreigners and Borders (SEF) – which is responsible for carrying out the legalisation process – registered 900,000 calls while immigrants from Spain and Italy joined the queue outside the building, reports Portuguese daily the Público.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

Portugal has a population of 10.2 million, of whom 420,000 are legal immigrants and another 150,000 are undocumented immigrants, according to estimates by non-governmental organizations in the Iberian country.

This means Portugal has one of the highest ratios of immigrant to native population in the European Union.

According to the government in Lisbon, the law was suspended because they detected it had a so-called "calling effect" seeing immigrants arriving from other parts of Europe and because certain "intermediates without scruples" were taking advantage of the "extraordinary regulation".

The new law foresees that only immigrants that already have an employment contract and are enrolled in the social security system can be legalised.

This is not the first time a member state has granted an immigration amnesty.

Fellow EU member states Spain and Italy were criticised by EU justice and home affairs commissioner Franco Frattini as well as now French president Nicolas Sarkozy when they regularised illegal immigrants in 2005 and 2006 respectively.

News in Brief

  1. Belgium: masks no longer mandatory from October
  2. Report: China built 380 Muslim internment camps
  3. Belgian government formation in final phase
  4. Lukashenko sworn in at secret ceremony
  5. Study: No-deal Brexit more costly than corona for UK
  6. Polish miners in underground protest against energy plan
  7. EU animal farming emits more CO2 than cars
  8. Navalny leaves Berlin hospital after poisoning attempt

EUobserver under attack in wider battle for EU free press

If EU citizens want to know the truth, then journalists need protection from malicious litigation, as EUobserver joined the list of targets, over an article about the late Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Council meets Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaja
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to invest DKK 250 million in green digitalised business sector
  3. UNESDAReducing packaging waste – a huge opportunity for circularity
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOVID-19 halts the 72nd Session of the Nordic Council in Iceland
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersCivil society a key player in integration
  6. UNESDANext generation Europe should be green and circular

Latest News

  1. EU migration pact to deter asylum
  2. 'Era of EU naivety ends', MEP pledges on foreign meddling
  3. Anti-mask protesters pose challenge for EU authorities
  4. EU 'failed' to safeguard civic freedoms during pandemic
  5. The corruption fuelling the Bulgaria protests
  6. EU countries stuck on rule of law-budget link
  7. EU states struggle to better sync Covid-19 measures
  8. EP groups drop homophobe from Sakharov prize

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us