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Around 4,900 of the 5,500 Portuguese retained overseas who have requested support have already returned to Portugal, announced today the Minister of Foreign Affairs, admitting special difficulties in the repatriation of Portuguese from the United States, Brazil, and Venezuela.

“At the time I speak, out of the 5,500 requests for assistance that have been addressed to us – from tourists, travelers and non-resident workers – it was possible to provide the return of around 4,900 of these people,” said the minister during a hearing at the Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Committee at the Portuguese Parliament.

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The number corresponds to a completion rate of nearly 90%, he said.

  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, meeting with the Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Photo: Miguel A. Lopes/Lusa
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, meeting with the Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Photo: Miguel A. Lopes/Lusa
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, meeting with the Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Photo: Miguel A. Lopes/Lusa
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, meeting with the Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Photo: Miguel A. Lopes/Lusa
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, meeting with the Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Photo: Miguel A. Lopes/Lusa

Questioned by BE (Left Block) deputy Pedro Filipe Soares about how he is following the Portuguese communities in the US, Brazil, and Venezuela, the minister admitted that due to “the decisions taken by these countries to close the airspace,” there are still “700 to 800 Portuguese that needed support to return, especially in the US and Brazil”, to which it was not possible to attend so far.

“As soon as the authorities end the closure of the airspace, this assistance will be immediate”, he assured.

Regarding the Portuguese students abroad under the European Erasmus program, the rate “is almost 100%”, with only four of those who asked for assistance still waiting to return, two of them are in Kosovo.

In this context, Santos Silva highlighted the European repatriation effort, which has enabled “half a million European tourists and travelers to be repatriated”, with about 100,000 cases still to be resolved at the last meeting of EU foreign ministers last week.

Portugal led three flights under the European Civil Protection Mechanism, which allowed the return of “six hundred other European citizens”, while “three hundred Portuguese benefited from the support of other member states on their return”.

Augusto Santos Silva evoked “characteristics of Fernão Mendes Pinto of the Portuguese” to underline that ” one cannot imagine where Portuguese appear”, citing having been repatriated Portuguese from countries such as Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Bahrain, Burkina Faso or Cameroon.

In addition to the mentioned cases, he said on another step, there were 25 exceptional flights to Portuguese-speaking African Countries (PALOP) to “help in major emergency situations, namely health issues or family reunification”.

Questioned by the deputies about non-resident workers, temporarily displaced in another country and who were prevented from returning, the minister highlighted the “extraordinary collaboration” that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has had with the companies involved.

“I would l like to reveal, as an example and demonstration of this positive atmosphere, a Portuguese shipyard company that had 15 workers and technicians in South Africa. In collaboration with our embassy, it ensured the repatriation by flight via Amsterdam and also brought many other Portuguese people retained in Amsterdam, without any charge to the government or those people”, he emphasized.

Augusto Santos Silva also assured that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working on strengthening social support for Portuguese overseas, particularly emigrants who have lost their jobs or suffer from other difficulties, and the extension of the aid to the media in the diaspora.

Also, in this matter, there are some cases of Portuguese in the United States that have more difficulties, more specifically those who are undocumented, mainly people who entered the country with a tourist visa and overstayed, he explained.


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Questioned by the PSD deputy Carlos Gonçalves and the PS deputy Paulo Pisco about whether Portuguese emigrants will be able to visit Portugal in the summer, Santos Silva assured that he is “working hard” so that they can do so.

“We are happy to welcome them, it is their right, and it will be essential to revive our whole territory, from an economic, social, and cultural point of view”, he said.

“As far as we are concerned, the possibility of these visits is guaranteed, but we need to work together with the other EU countries so the current restrictions on the Schengen area can be lifted by the summer”, he added.

Artigo em Português

Covid-19: Quase 90% dos portugueses que pediram apoio já regressaram a Portugal

Lisboa, 05 mai 2020 (Lusa) – Cerca de 4.900 dos 5.500 portugueses retidos no estrangeiro que pediram apoio já regressaram a Portugal, anunciou hoje o ministro dos Negócios Estrangeiros, admitindo dificuldades especiais no repatriamento de portugueses dos Estados Unidos, Brasil e Venezuela. 

“Ao dia e hora em que falo, dos cerca de 5.500 pedidos de apoio que nos foram dirigidos – de turistas, viajantes e trabalhadores não-residentes – foi possível apoiar o regresso de cerca de 4.900 dessas pessoas”, disse o ministro durante uma audição na comissão de Negócios Estrangeiros e Comunidades Portuguesas da Assembleia da República.

Os números, disse, correspondem a uma taxa de conclusão de processos de perto dos 90%.

  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, meeting with the Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Photo: Miguel A. Lopes/Lusa
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, meeting with the Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Photo: Miguel A. Lopes/Lusa
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, meeting with the Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Photo: Miguel A. Lopes/Lusa
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, meeting with the Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Photo: Miguel A. Lopes/Lusa
  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Augusto Santos Silva, meeting with the Commission of Foreign Affairs and Portuguese Communities Photo: Miguel A. Lopes/Lusa

Questionado pelo deputado Pedro Filipe Soares, do BE, sobre como está a acompanhar as comunidades portuguesas nos EUA, Brasil e Venezuela, o ministro admitiu que, devido às “decisões tomadas por esses países de fechar o espaço aéreo”, há “700 a 800 portugueses que precisavam de apoio para o regresso, sobretudo nos Estados Unidos e no Brasil”, aos quais não foi possível dar resposta até ao momento.

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“Logo que as autoridades terminem o fecho do espaço aéreo esse apoio é imediato”, assegurou.

Quanto a estudantes portugueses no estrangeiro ao abrigo do programa europeu Erasmus, a taxa “é praticamente de 100%”, com apenas quatro dos que pediram apoio ainda a aguardar o regresso, dois dos quais estão no Kosovo.

Santos Silva destacou neste contexto o esforço europeu de repatriamento, que permitiu “repatriar meio milhão de turistas e viajantes europeus”, havendo, quando da última reunião de ministros dos Negócios Estrangeiros da União Europeia, na semana passada, cerca de 100.000 casos por resolver.

Portugal liderou três voos ao abrigo do Mecanismo Europeu de Proteção Civil, que permitiram trazer, além de portugueses, “seis centenas de outros cidadãos europeus”, enquanto “três centenas de portugueses beneficiaram do apoio de outros Estados-membros no seu regresso”.

Augusto Santos Silva evocou, a propósito, “características de Fernão Mendes Pinto dos portugueses” para sublinhar que “não se imagina onde aparecem portugueses”, citando terem sido repatriados portugueses de países como Cazaquistão, Camboja, Bahrein, Burkina Faso ou Camarões.

Além dos casos apontados, disse noutro passo, realizaram-se 25 voos excecionais para Países Africanos de Língua Oficial Portuguesa (PALOP) para “acudir a situações de maior emergência, designadamente questões de saúde ou de reagrupamento familiar”.

Questionado pelos deputados acerca dos trabalhadores não-residentes, temporariamente deslocados noutro país e que se viram impedidos de regressar, o ministro destacou a “colaboração extraordinária” que o MNE tem tido com as empresas envolvidas.

“Queria relevar, como exemplo e demonstração deste bom clima, uma empresa portuguesa do setor naval que tinha 15 trabalhadores e técnicos na África do Sul. Com a colaboração da nossa embaixada, assegurou o repatriamento com voo via Amesterdão e trouxe muitos outros portugueses retidos em Amesterdão, sem nenhum encargo para o Estado ou para essa pessoas”, destacou.

Augusto Santos Silva assegurou por outro lado que o Ministério dos Negócios Estrangeiros está a trabalhar no reforço dos apoios sociais a portugueses no estrangeiro, designadamente emigrantes que perderam o emprego ou sofrem de outras dificuldades, e a extensão do apoio aos meios de comunicação social da diáspora.

Também nesta matéria, são alguns casos de portugueses nos Estados Unidos que mais dificuldades apresentam, especificamente os indocumentados, na maioria pessoas que entraram no país com visto de turista e permaneceram para além dele, explicou.

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Questionado pelos deputados Carlos Gonçalves, do PSD, e Paulo Pisco, do PS, sobre se os emigrantes portugueses vão poder visitar Portugal no verão, Santos Silva assegurou estar a “trabalhar afincadamente” para que possam fazê-lo.

“Temos todo o gosto em recebê-los, é um direito deles e será uma condição muito importante para o reanimar de todo o nosso território, do ponto de vista económico, social e cultural”, disse.

“No que depender de nós, a possibilidade dessas visitas está garantida, o que é preciso é trabalhar em conjunto com os outros países da UE para que as restrições que hoje existem ao espaço de circulação Schengen possam ser levantadas até ao verão”, acrescentou.

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