Portugal to treat migrants as residents during coronavirus crisis

They will be able to use the country’s national health service, welfare benefits, and more.

All migrants and asylum seekers with pending applications will be treated as permanent residents from March 30th until at least July 1, the government announced. This will ensure that these applicants will have access to life-saving public services.

“People should not be deprived of their rights to health and public service just because their application has not yet been processed,” Claudia Veloso, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, told Reuters. “In these exceptional times, the rights of migrants must be guaranteed.”

It is not clear how many people had ongoing applications but as per the government statistics 580,000 immigrants resided in Portugal in 2019 and 135,000 people were granted residency that year.

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