Almost all (93%) of requests for voluntary return made to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Portugal are from Brazilians. The data refer to the 1st half of 2020 and show a 32% increase in orders compared to the same period in 2019.
IOM received a total of 322 orders from January to June 2019 and 472 in the same period in 2020.
Responsible for IOM in Portugal, Luís Carrasquinho provided and explained the figures to the newspaper Public. He stressed that the main cause of requests for returns made by Brazilians is the crisis caused by the new coronavirus, which “Ended up accentuating the precarious economic situation” immigrants. “Many are working in the informal sector and more quickly end up in a difficult situation and ask for support.”
According to the 2019 report of the Portuguese Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), the Brazilian community is the largest in the country. Of the total of more than 590 thousand foreigners with a residence permit, 25.6% are citizens of Brazil. This number does not include illegal immigrants or Brazilians with Portuguese nationality (or from another European Union country).
Portugal closed its borders in March, but continued to allow repatriation flights. Carrasquinho explains that IOM carried out, from May to June, 25 to 30 shipments per month. As orders can take up to two months to be evaluated and approved, the repatriations requested in the 1st semester will continue.
IOM, in partnership with the Portuguese government, is responsible for the Support Program for Voluntary Return and Reintegration, which provides logistical and financial assistance to those who want to return to their country of origin.