Portugal regularizes migrants in COVID-19 emergency

Portugal government regularize migrants showing that measure protecting everyone can be taken if there is political will.

From today, all migrants and asylum seekers with pending residency applications have been granted citizenship rights by the socialist government led by Antonio Costa in Portugal.

The decision was taken by the government to grant everyone the right to access to health services during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measure will be valid at least until 1 July and aims at ensuring that migrants can access services during the COVID-19 crisis, including the national health service, welfare benefits, bank accounts, work, and rental contracts.

"People should not be deprived of their rights to health and public service just because their application has not yet been processed," Claudia Veloso, spokeswoman for the Ministry of Internal Affairs, told Reuters. "In these exceptional times, the rights of migrants must be guaranteed," she added.

The Minister of Internal Affairs Eduardo Cabrita explained that "it is a duty of a society of solidarity in times of crisis to ensure that migrant citizens have access to health and social security.”

The army has been distributing food to the homeless in the capital Lisbon as the country is trying to combat the spread of the deadly disease that has infected more than 700,000 people worldwide and killed almost 34,000.