August 16, 2006

Migrants

Brazilian migrants make up the largest foreign community in Portugal, with over 160,000 Brazilians living in the country. Over one third of the total are undocumented.

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Last week the Portuguese government moved towards legitimizing the residence status of undocumented migrants, most of whom are from the Portuguese-speaking nations of Brazil, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and Sao Tome e Principe.

The announcement of the new Immigration Law coincided with the summit meeting in Brasilia between Brazilian President Jose Inacio Lula da Silva and Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates Carvalho Pinto de Sousa.

The new law will require foreigners to enter Portugal in possession of promise of an employment contract, or to have received offers from the "Bolsa de Empleo", which will be published on the Internet by the Institute of Employment and Professional Training.

The new legislation also grants residence permits to undocumented immigrants who are already "effectively employed in the legal labour market," or are running their own enterprises.

Visas can now be renewed at city government offices, rather than only at the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) offices.

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