Portugal’s government is celebrating increasing immigration numbers after the number of foreign nationals living in the country hit half a million for the first time in its history.
The socialist-led government said that Portugal had overcome barriers to attract more migrants, which it said needed to be due to the country’s relatively low birth date and ageing population.
Home Minister Eduardo Cabrita told the country’s parliament on Wednesday, “Preliminary figures indicate to me that in 2019, for the first time in our history, the barrier of half a million foreign nationals living in Portugal has been removed.
The minister told the MPs that 54,000 foreign nationals were living in Portugal at the end of 2019, up from 909,000 at the end of 2014.
The debate in Portugal on migration contrasted with that in other countries of the European Union, particularly Britain — where the government has been aiming to reduce immigration.
Portugal is one of the ten states in the European Union where less than five per cent of resident foreigners are born; It also faced strong emigration between 2011 and 2014 as a result of the global financial crisis and austerity.
In 2014 Prime Minister Antonio Costa’s government passed new laws to promote immigration, the law coming into effect in the autumn of 2014.
Mr. Costa said at the time, “We need more immigration, and we will not tolerate any rude rhetoric.
The changes made it easy to come to Portugal for seasonal work, casual work, and study; While the process of regularizing undocumented migrants was also modernized. Visas and other bureaucracies were also streamlined.
The Portuguese government, in particular, has also promised a 50 per cent income tax cut by 2023 to lure back Portuguese immigrants who have left the country.
Mr. Costa’s Socialist Party heads a minority administration that controls ad hoc support of communists and radical leftists.
His party was re-elected in 2015 with a higher percentage of votes than in 2015 and 22 more seats.
Get the best of The Thus delivered to your inbox – subscribe to The Thus Newsletters. For the latest Breaking News and Top Stories follow The Thus on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest and stay in the know with what’s happening in the world around you – in real-time.