758 thousand immigrants: the number of Brazilians and Indians is the fastest growing

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In 2022, there will be 4,000 more natives of India registered and 28,44 more from Brazil, which is the largest foreign community, with 233,138 natives in Portugal. And 114 thousand new titles.

The number of immigrants continues to increase: 58,365 more (+8.4% compared to 2021) in 2022. The number of foreigners with residence permits is now 757,752, with Indian nationals representing the fourth largest community in Portugal, leaving Italy in fifth place. There are 4,000 more regularized Indians, an increase of 13.2%, and which is only surpassed by Brazilians, 28,44 more (13.9%), totaling 233,138.

The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) registers a continuous increase in the immigrant population, higher from 2021 to 2022 than in the previous period. There are nationalities from the Asian continent that have been standing out, besides India (with a total of 34,232 people), Nepal. There are 23,441 Nepalese living in the country (8.8% more), while China drops out of the top 10.

There is also a predominance of Europeans. There are more Italians, already 33,707 (9.4% more). The United Kingdom remains in second place with 36,639 people, but has a decrease of 12.6% compared to 2021.

The natives of the African Countries of Portuguese Official Language (PALOP) also have high numbers, especially Cape Verde, with 35,744 migrants (4.8% more). Angola, in ninth place, has a drop of 14.9%, adding 30,417.

Immigration from Eastern Europe continues to move down the scale of the most representative foreign communities. We are talking about Romania (23,967) and Ukraine (26,898). This is synonymous with changes in the migratory flows not only in the countries of destination but also in the countries of origin.

Not included in this data are refugees from Ukraine, following the Russian invasion on February 24 last year. The SEF granted 57,859 temporary protections to Ukrainian citizens and foreigners residing in that country. Of these, 33,816 are women and 24,043 are men.

It should be noted that, among the communities that have been there the longest, many have acquired Portuguese nationality. It is accessible to those who have the residence card for five continuous years. It involves citizens from the PALOP countries, Eastern Europe and, more recently, Asia, particularly China.

In 2022, SEF granted 113,090 new residence permits, with more than a third (34.4%) being granted to those from Brazil. This is followed by Italy (5903), Angola (5652)), India (5651), Bangladesh (4243), France (3963), Cape Verde (3894), Germany (3331), Guinea-Bissau (3145)), and Pakistan (3017).

This number does not correspond directly to the total increase of immigrants (it is half), which means that many have not renewed their residence permit and others have acquired Portuguese nationality, no longer appearing in the statistics of foreign citizens living in the country.

One must also take into account SEF’s delays in granting residency. “The delay in attendance is largely due to the impact of the pandemic on public services and the exponential increase in requests, in which every effort has been made to recover pending issues,” justified the SEF to DN.

On Tuesday, at the parliamentary hearing on human trafficking, SEF director Fernando Silva said that the service receives about 900 regularization requests per day, which means 27,000 per month. He was referring to the “expression of interest” made on the SAPA portal, the first step towards regularization in Portugal. At this point it is necessary that the immigrant proves to have means of subsistence, namely work.

“They don’t represent a presence of 27 thousand new immigrants per month in Portugal because, when we notify them to appear, about half don’t show up. They are either in other EU countries or they decide not to go through with the regularization process”, stressed Fernando Silva. One of the justifications of the immigrants, namely through the association Solidariedade Imigrante, is that the notification takes so long that many of those enrolled no longer have the same contacts.

SEF started in August 2021 the notification by chronological order of the foreigners that have delivered the “expressions of interest”. Citizens who made their requests in January 2021 are being contacted, and those who submitted their requests by the end of 2020 have already been validated. Of the more than 134,000 citizens called, 75,000 showed up.

32 victims of trafficking

Fernando Silva was speaking at the Commission for Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees, a hearing requested by the PCP.

In Parliament, he said that in 2022 the SEF flagged 32 victims of human trafficking, 26 (81.3%) in labor exploitation. These are less than those seen in the previous five years, an average of 60 per year. The highest number was in 2019, with 86 victims.

In the last six years, they have identified 357 victims, of which 248 (69.5%) for labor exploitation. They have carried out 153 investigation processes and 67 have led to proposed charges by the Public Prosecutor’s Office. There is “the recruitment of foreign workers to provide work in seasonal agricultural campaigns, such as harvesting olives, tomatoes, fruit or agricultural products. As a rule, they are recruited through temporary work companies, most often created and managed by other foreigners of the same nationalities. In exchange for work, they promise lodging, food, transportation and salary.

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