Portugal grants refugee status to 71% of applicants; highest rate in EU

Country stands for giving refugee status to people “with low rates of recognition of the need” for it

Seven out of ten applications for refugee status received a positive response from Portugal in 2022, a report by the High Commissioner for Migration (ACM) has shown today, making this country the EU Member State with “the highest percentage of favourable decisions” – more than three times the European average.

“Although Portugal continues not to stand out as a destination for applicants for international protection, in 2022 it was the country in the European Union of 27 (EU27) with the highest relative importance of granting refugee status among the total number of decisions issued,” says the ACM document, adding that the EU average for positive decisions was 23 out of 100.

Says the document: “Portugal shows a very favourable evolution in recent years, increasing the percentage of refugee status granted in the total number of decisions rendered, from eight refugee statuses per 100 decisions rendered in 2019, to 18 per 100 decisions in 2020, to 45 per 100 decisions in 2021 and to 71 per 100 decisions in 2022, the highest weight ever”.

It has to be remembered, that immigrants to this country have been credited with ‘saving’ Portugal’s social security system.

According to the ACM data, applicants for protection in Portugal have an age distribution “slightly different from the average of the countries” of the European Union – with a lower relative importance of applicants under the age of 18, and a higher weight of applicants between the ages of 18 and 34.

In 2022, applicants under the age of 14 represented only 11% of the total asylum applications processed in this country.

The report emphasises, however, that Portugal is not among the main destinations for international protection in the world or in Europe.

“Of the 27.1 million refugees in the world, calculated by the UNHCR in 2021, only 2.9 million (13.4%) were in European Union countries and, of these refugees residing in the EU27, Portugal only received about 2,700, or 0.1% of the total refugees in the EU27“.

In 2021, Portugal was thus in 20th position among the 27 countries of the European Union receiving the most refugees – far below the leader Germany, which in 2021 received 5.9% of the total refugees in the world, registering 43.9% of the refugees received in the EU, or 1.3 million people.

The report also highlights that, at European level, not all nationalities have the same degree of recognition of the need for international protection, which directly influences the volume of favourable decisions of each country each year.

In the European Union in 2022, the nationality with the highest rate of recognition of applications for international protection was Syrian (94.2%), followed by Ukrainian (90.2%), Eritrean (85.3%), Afghan (85%), Venezuelan (76.3%), Malian (72%) and Somali (61.5%).

“Comparing the results of the EU27 total with the results of Portugal, it is identified that the country, with the exception of applications from nationals of Afghanistan (which have increased especially since 2021), has received more applications for international protection from nationalities with low rates of recognition of the need for international protection”, says the report.

According to the ACM, there was an increase in Portugal in inadmissible applications, that is, of people who applied for international protection in Portugal after having applied for asylum in another member state, which “leads to immediate rejection “.

“In 2022, 343 applications (62.9%) were considered inadmissible and subject to transfer to another member state, increasing compared to the trend in 2021 (among the 443 rejections, 234 were inadmissible applications, representing 52.8%)”, says the document.

Source material: LUSA