Portugal Reprimanded by Group Attached to Council of Europe

Amadora, Portugal, home to many migrants of African descent (Photo: WIkimedia Commons)

A report by the group Action Against Human Trafficking (GRETA in English), part of the Council of Europe, has warned that the delays in the regularization procedures of migrants in Portugal are blocking access to justice and penal proceedings against human traffickers.

The report, issued on Monday April 29, states that “the procedure to qualify for legal assistance by the social security institution can take several months,” thereby making access impossible for “foreign victims of human trafficking” if “they do not have a residency permit and are not registered for social security”.

In the report’s introduction, the President of the GRETA organization, Helga Gayer, underscored that in all countries what is noticeable is “a lack of specialized legal support to represent victims of human trafficking”.

As per the report, migrants also face “obstacles in the actual access to the labor market, which makes them vulnerable to additional exploitation”.
The Portuguese case, as national media have been sharing now for several months, worsened due to the administrative change of responsibility, at the end of last year, from the Border Police Service (SEF) to the newly founded Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA).

On April 29, the Minister of the Council Presidency, António Leitão Amaro, on the sidelines of a meeting in Brussels, stated that the current government inherited over 400 thousand residency proceedings requests.

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