Portugal grants temporary citizenship to migrants to access coronavirus care, financial support
London, March 31, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The government in Portugal is granting citizenship rights to all migrants and asylum seekers who have residency applications underway.
The move is intended to ensure everybody who needs it has access to social security and health care while the country battles the spread and effects of coronavirus.
1/2 All migrants in Portugal will be treated as permanent residents until 1 July to ensure they have access to public services during the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reports.— Richard Danziger (@RDanzigerIOM) March 28, 2020
Claudia Veloso, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, told the news agency:
2/2— Richard Danziger (@RDanzigerIOM) March 28, 2020
People should not be deprived of their rights to health and public service just because their application has not yet been processed. In these exceptional times, the rights of migrants must be guaranteed. BRAVO #Portugal
On Sunday the total number of infections in Portugal stood at 5,962, with 119 deaths – including that of a 14-year-old boy who had underlying health issues.
Police have been stepping up surveillance measures to enforce social distancing, with the use of drones in Porto and Lisbon.
And in the capital, the army is distributing food to the homeless, as the country attempts to battle the coronavirus that has caused lockdowns around the world.
Those who are in the process of applying for citizenship will be granted citizenship rights until at least July 1, the government has announced
Applauding the decision, Richard Danziger, a regional director of UN Migration, said Regional Director, said: “People should not be deprived of their rights to health and public service just because their application has not yet been processed.”
The Minister of Internal Affairs, Eduardo Cabrita, said it is “important to guarantee the rights of the most fragile, as is the case of immigrants”.
“It is a duty of a society of solidarity in times of crisis to ensure that immigrant citizens have access to health and social security,” he explained.