Portugal helps immigrants during the pandemic
The most vulnerable people, including migrants without proper documentation, will suffer additional risks during the COVID-19 health crisis. Only in the UK, there are approximately one million undocumented immigrants, according to the Pew Research Center. They are not only in danger of not getting food in the next few days, without the possibility of getting support from charities that are closed or doing informal work. If they become sick, they cannot receive medical assistance.
In Portugal, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa declared the State of Emergency on March 18 and many stores and services were closed, including the foreign affairs services. The government decided to give all migrants and asylum seekers temporary full citizenship rights at least until June 30, during the COVID-19 crisis.
One of the aims of the new Portuguese measure is to ensure access to the health of undocumented persons. Besides that, it allows that all documents about to expire are automatically renewed, it gives the right to open a bank account, to sign an employment contract or to request an unemployment benefit.