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This briefing presents an overview of the key features of migration and asylum policy in Portugal, recent trends in migration patterns, and public perceptions and political narratives on refugees and other migrants.
Portugal has a history of pragmatic migration policies and exceptionally positive political narratives around migration. These reflect a long-standing agreement among mainstream parties not to politicise immigration, based largely on a recognition of migrants’ key role in filling labour gaps, even more so in the context of an ageing and shrinking population. Public attitudes towards immigration have been mixed. However, despite historic scepticism about the benefits of immigration overall, Portuguese citizens generally express openness to having immigrants as friends, neighbours and relatives, are positive about migrants’ integration, and support refugee-hosting policies. The rise of the far-right party Chega is a major concern. So far, immigration has not been a key focus, as the party has predominantly exploited anti-Roma prejudice. But there is evidence of broader xenophobia in Chega’s rhetoric, and anti-migrant discrimination has increased since its emergence. Reinforced support for the country’s pro-migrant approach is needed – across mainstream parties, the media, the private sector and civil society – if Portugal is to achieve the government’s vision of an open, inclusive society that maximises the social and economic benefits of immigration.
Public narratives and attitudes towards refugees and other migrants: Portugal country profile
Narrativas e atitudes públicas para com os refugiados e outros migrantes - Perfil do país: Portugal
About the series
Through a series of activities, dialogues and innovative communication and outreach initiatives,
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