At least 65 Timorese signed up to the government's 'return programme' which enabled them to return to their homeland. Image: Rodrigo Antunes/ Lusa
At least 65 Timorese signed up to the government's 'return programme' which enabled them to return to their homeland. Image: Rodrigo Antunes/ Lusa

Timorese immigrants “never got the legal representation promised”

A year after the Portuguese Bar Association announced it would provide legal aid to Timorese immigrants who were arriving in Portugal without any support and already deeply in debt, the organisation says that the measure never went ahead, which the former leader regrets. As Lusa explains, the arrangement was sealed with the former ambassador of the Democratic Republic of East Timor. Following elections, there was a new leader in place – and the subject was never discussed again. In the meantime, of the 6,814 Timorese citizens who entered Portugal in dire straits, 5,135 “left through external borders”. No one can be sure where they ended up.