Portugal is “not one of the most attractive countries” for the thousands of migrants risking lives as they cross the Mediterranean – but if it was, it would be “ready to take them”.
The statement comes from the High Commissioner for Migrations Pedro Calado, during a recent interview with Jornal de Notícias.
Calado said “those migrating know well where opportunities lie” and opt for countries that are “much more attractive” than Portugal. However, Portugal could really do with them.
“We lack labour, we have a problem with birthrates and migrants could be part of the solution,” he explained.
As for the 2,405 migrants that Portugal has been asked to absorb within the next two years, Calado adds that Public Administration is already preparing a system that will “accompany and integrate them”.
He stressed this was the only way forwards in the crisis that has seen so many migrants lose their lives in desperate circumstances.
“The leader of a country in North Africa has already said: if countries don’t want my oranges, I will export men.”