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Portugal tightens its migration policy

Portugal tightens its migration policy
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Portugal’s new government on Monday tightened its migration policy, repealing a key law under the former socialist administration that had promoted people moving to the country for work.

With one of Europe’s most open immigration regimes, Portugal has seen its foreign-born population double in five years, partially due to South Asians who have come to work in farming, fishing and restaurants.

However, Prime Minister Luis Montenegro said his government wanted to “put an end to… excessive abuse” of its welcome for immigrants, calling the changes a “new cycle”.

The new centre-right government — formed after elections in March — repealed a key provision which allowed immigrants to request regularisation by demonstrating that they had been working for a least a year and contributing to social security.

Since 2007, Portugal had been granting papers to all those who declare their earnings, and in 2018, the socialist government extended this to those who had entered the country illegally.

Montenegro said that while Portugal needed migrants to cope with its “demographic decline”, it was also necessary to “avoid the extremes”.

Portugal has seen its foreign population double in five years, reaching one million people last year, according to provisional figures from Aima, the agency for integration and migration.

That is a tenth of the total population.

Last year some 180,000 migrants were regularised, according to government data.

The government agency for migration was created last year after the dissolution of the former border police, but it has been faced with a lack of staff and heavy workload.

On Monday the prime minister said the new agency was “not working” and would be restructured.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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