Only 79 of the 768 refugees who have turned their backs on Portugal’s refugee placement programme have agreed to return “after being identified by European authorities and obliged to return”.
The news follows a study called for by government allies Bloco de Esquerda.
The “evaluation report on Portuguese refugee policies” further reveals that more than half the refugees initially ‘welcomed’ into have already left the country – mostly due to Portugal not having been their country of choice.
But, surprisingly perhaps, the High Commissioner for Migrations has labelled the results “frankly positive” “valuing the remaining 49% (of 1520 refugees taken in) who have decided to stay”.
As the report concludes, Portugal can be proud of being “on the right side of history”.
Using this imagery, PSD MP Duarte Marques has commented that notwithstanding the good intentions and “propagandist way” that the government has dealt with the issue of refugees the reality of the last two years has shown that bureaucracy and demands on public services have complicated their lives and integration.
Marques stressed that the refugees “obliged to return” arrive “frustrated for not having got where they wanted to go”, adding that “it is fundamental that a special programme is created for these people”.