13 April 2022
Like other European countries, Portugal has been receiving refugees from Ukraine. The government has implemented a system to document refugees so they can access healthcare and other services and to facilitate the process of their residency. However, this could be seen as unfair and could cause a division in society as other migrant groups have been waiting years for residence permits.
There has also been a very positive response among civil society in Portugal. Many Portuguese families have welcomed Ukrainian families, and companies have been offering jobs. Cross-sectoral support, however, has been lacking.
Portugal is also suffering from inflation, with prices rising every day. Inflation will affect Ukrainian refugees and vulnerable Portuguese families, leaving more and more in challenging circumstances. Situations like this underscore the need for continued advocacy for all children and families to have the environment and services they need, regardless of where they come from.
“Although emergency measures to receive Ukrainian refugees are necessary and important, thinking about and taking steps for the medium- and long-term inclusion of these children and families is of utmost importance. For instance, how can these children have adequate access to health and education if national services are already unable to meet the needs?” – Mafalda Lourenço, Fundação Nossa Senhora do Bom Sucesso, Portugal.
So far, there has been very little evidence at the national level of the Child Guarantee in action in Portugal. Information about the national action plan has been scant and difficult to access. After the national legislative elections last January, the new government took office at the end of March 2022. Ms. Ana Mendes Godinho remains Minister of Labour, Solidarity, and Social Security, who oversees the National Coordinator for the Child Guarantee. Fundação Nossa Senhora do Bom Sucesso believes that the conditions of political stability are in place to move ahead quickly with the pending matter.