Asylum, refugee and subsidiary protection status – Portugal’s doors open to diplomacy

Law No. 27/2008 of 30 June 2008 establishes the conditions and procedures for granting asylum or subsidiary protection and for asylum seeker, refugee and subsidiary protection statuses.

This law transposed into Portuguese law several Council of Europe directives in response to the constant migratory crises that the world unfortunately still faces.

These days, we are unfortunately again confronted with a serious migration crisis due to years of tension resulting in the armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine that has recently led to the natural migratory intentions of Ukrainian citizens and residents.

In addition to the great mobilizations of support and solidarity with Ukraine, which spread not only throughout Portugal but also throughout Europe, the Portuguese authorities headed by the President and Government of the Portuguese Republic acted in accordance with what was required and came forward with several aid measures in order to prevent the escalation of this upcoming migratory crisis.

In addition to the referred Law No. 27/2008, better known as the Asylum, Refugee and Subsidiary Protection Statute, the referred authorities have promptly advanced with aid initiatives such as the facilitation of all immigration processes for Ukrainian citizens and residents and with the creation of real task forces, made up of all kinds of professionals, to act on a pro bono basis and ensure the much needed assistance to the interested parties.

This necessary streamlining is based on making immigration procedures less burdensome for those applicants who are really in need.

In this sense, in 2008 this legislative solution appeared in the Portuguese legislation in order to prevent future situations such as the Refugee Crisis we faced in 2015 and, unfortunately, the migratory crisis we may be following throughout this year of 2022.

Basically, the provisions of this law guarantee to foreigners and stateless persons the benefit of an international protection inherent to all human rights principles.

Thus any citizen “persecuted or seriously threatened with persecution, as a result of an activity exercised in the State of his/her nationality or habitual residence in favor of democracy, social and national liberation, peace among peoples, freedom and the rights of the human person”, is eligible to benefit from this asylum status or subsidiary protection.

This provision also covers those who have a well-founded fear of persecution on the grounds of religion, race, nationality or political choice and logically extends to citizens of a country at war where living conditions are in no way guaranteed.

These were the foundations of the statute in its applicability to the refugee crisis in 2015 and will be applied again to the situation arising in Eastern Europe, for the sake of democracy and diplomacy.

The content of this statute focuses on the guarantees provided by the Portuguese State to those in need of this support and the contribution to freedom and equality throughout the world.

In addition to the aforementioned less burdensome procedures, Portugal, through Law 27/2008, grants the applicants equal opportunities and equal treatment to all foreigners residing in Portugal through common procedures, which in turn is similar to the rights guaranteed to Portuguese citizens and nationals by our Constitution and other legislation.

In matters of full defense of human rights and for peace, democracy and diplomacy, Portugal has, over the years, proven itself where it should be.

These are, or at least should be, the principles that guide any developed country, but unfortunately we have more and more evidence to the contrary.

In Portugal, we do not give up the most basic democratic principles and there is no fear of opening our doors to the world.

The content of this information does not constitute any specific legal advice; the latter can only be given when faced with a specific case. Please contact us for any further clarification or information deemed necessary in what concerns the application of the law.