Posted March 10, 2022.
Portugal’s Council of Ministers has approved a resolution simplifying the entry process and protection requirements for Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s impending war on Ukraine.
Portugal can accommodate “tens of thousands of Ukrainians without the risk of turbulence”, said Justice Minister Francisca Van Dunem.
“We have a large Ukrainian community in Portugal which is perfectly integrated and settled. Many people who come to Portugal already have family or friends who will support them in the first phase,” Van Dunem said.
Portugal is home to a large Ukrainian community, one of the largest foreign communities residing in the country. Nearly 30,000 Ukrainians lived in Portugal in 2020, the fifth largest foreign community in the country, according to the latest official data.
The approved simplified entry process includes a temporary measure, which will last for one year and can be extended for two six-month periods “if the war continues or another situation arises which prevents people from returning safely to Ukraine”.
Portugal is also dropping the visa requirement and giving refugees the necessary documents to seek work or access health services upon arrival in the country. Other measures allow refugees to obtain legal status in Portugal with immediate access to tax identification number, social security identification number and national health service number.
Work opportunities are offered to war refugees with professional skills that nationals cannot occupy. The Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP), which mobilized a task force to match Ukrainian workers with available vacancies, has already registered more than 17,000 job opportunities for war refugees and will offer Portuguese lessons to Ukrainians arriving in Portugal.
According to the Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, “there is a great diversity of professions in demand”, with job offers placed in information technology, transport, drivers , restaurants and hotels, social and civil construction, throughout the countryside.
In addition, the Association of Portuguese Municipalities met with the European High Commissioner for Migration to address other needs, including housing; while hospitals are open to accommodate war refugees who require health care due to health conditions requiring immediate attention.
Schools are also preparing to receive Ukrainian students “as soon as possible” and are ready to offer Portuguese language instruction and social support.
The Office of the Presidency of Portugal has launched the digital platform “Portugal for Ukraine” which aims to aggregate all “responses and ongoing actions to support displaced persons from Ukraine, inside and outside outside Portugal”.
A week ago, Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine hit cities and civilians with airstrikes and bombings. As a result, thousands of civilians piled into trains and cars to flee the unprovoked aggression, while Russian tanks and troops continued to cross the border, launching a “full-scale war” that could rewrite the world. geopolitical order of the region.
According to European Commission estimates, 5 million Ukrainian refugees will soon reach the external borders of the European Union.
In a related development, Portuguese Defense Minister João Gomes Cravinho said 174 Portuguese soldiers will be deployed to Romania, a country bordering Ukraine, “at the end of March, beginning of April”.
The soldiers “will be stationed in southern Romania and are therefore not immediately close to the border with Ukraine”, however playing “a very important role in strengthening NATO’s deterrence capability”, said Cravinho.
Portugal is one of the 30 nations that are part of NATO, considered one of the most powerful military alliances in the world, whose mission is to provide a rapid defense response to its allies. Under Article V of its charter, the alliance treats an attack on one member country as an attack on all.
PAJ/Staff/ This developing story will be updated