So keen is Portugal to boost its resident population, the government is fully behind a Communist Party proposal to legalise ‘undocumented migrants residing in Portugal’ – aka, illegal immigrants.
This move does buck the current trend in Europe towards nationalism and xenophobia and is being pitched by the executive as an example of Portugal’s humanity.
According to the proposal, undocumented foreigners will be able to regularise their legal status if they prove that they have a job or moved to Portugal before July 1, 2015. Any family members living with the applicant also will qualify, the population figures will go up and policies will be shown to be working.
“Racism and xenophobia are not combatted by the social exclusion of immigrants,” say the Communists who want to treat all citizens “with the dignity to which human beings have a right.”
The initiative was approved with favourable votes from the Left Bloc, the Communist Party and The Greens. Opposed to this laissez-faire attitude to illegal immigrants were the Social Democrats and CDS-PP, both being right wing parties and generally ill-disposed to suspicious foreigners, unless they are rich, of course.
This route to increasing the population, or at least staunching the flow of emigrants from Portugal, should have better results than the failed attempt to attract, house and maintain asylum seekers and refugees where, despite a desire to take in 10,000 or more, under 2,000 have arrived in Portugal and nearly half are known already to have moved to mature economies in northern Europe.