Portugal: Almost 800 immigrants seek help to return to homeland in 9M 2023 – IOM

A total of 787 immigrants in Portugal have requested support from the ÁRVoRE programme to return to their country of origin in the first nine months of 2023, the vast majority, 607, of Brazilian nationality, according to data from the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).

In the same period, 278 immigrants returned to their countries under the IOM programme to support the voluntary return and reintegration of immigrants in their country of origin, with Brazilians once again in the majority.

This is also due to the fact that the Brazilian immigrant community is the largest in Portugal, with over 400,000 people.  

The percentage of immigrants from Brazil enrolled in the programme therefore represents 77% of the total number of immigrants enrolled until September to try for this support.

“The percentage of those [Brazilian immigrants] that we have already helped to return to Brazil in 2023 is 82%,” which corresponds to 228 cases, said Vasco Malta, the head of mission of the International Organisation for Migration in Lisbon, in written answers to questions posed by Lusa.

He pointed out that “Brazil is the main community within the scope of the Voluntary Return and Reintegration Support Programme”, which is why the organisation always registers “a high demand, around 80% to 85% on average” of total requests, he said.

In 2022, the year in which the number of requests for support from immigrants in Portugal to return to their country of origin reached a record 1,051, the number of Brazilian citizens was 913, or 87%.

That year, the total number of returnees with the support of the ÁRVoRE programme was 394 people, 350 of whom were Brazilian citizens.

At the time, the IOM official in Lisbon justified the 2022 figures by unemployment, difficulties in accessing the labour market and housing and in getting their residence cards legalised.

According to Vasco Malta, that year it wasn’t just the number of applications that increased, but also the cases of people in situations of extreme vulnerability”.    

The ÁRVoRE programme, an IOM initiative, is co-financed by the Portuguese government, through the former Foreigners and Borders Service, now the Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA), and by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund.



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