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Portugal: The quiet south

Recerca | 26/03/2008

The case of Portugal

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Only one out of every twenty-five inhabitants is foreign. Very strict and centralized policies have marked the stability of the country. A marked desire to integrate immigrants stands out.


The economic growth of Portugal as a result of the fall of the dictatorship and, subsequently, on joining the European Union, has converted this country, traditionally of emigrants, into a centre of attraction for labour.

Immigration powers are very centralized, and the Lisbon administration has devoted resources both to contain the arrival of migratory waves and to accommodate newcomers. In a few years Portugal has consolidated a strong welfare state, which in this case promotes, without making a lot of noise, the integration of immigrants, through schooling, social welfare and other fields.

The informal economy is very important in Portugal and the lack of official data cannot conceal the existence of some cases of precariousness, poverty, unemployment and marginal groups among immigrants, but always with less tension than in comparable countries.

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