Today, celebrations take place under the motto of the International Day of Migrants. At a time when we are approaching the end of the European Year for Intercultural Dialogue and when much has been said about the importance and progress in the field of integration policies, we cannot fail to point out the precarious situation in which many thousands of immigrants in Portugal, namely @s “indocumentad@s”, and for the institutionalized disrespect for Human Rights, increasingly evident in European anti-immigration policies.
- The law creates a vicious cycle – work is necessary to have the right to residency, but residency is needed to work – which leaves migrants in an alley that is difficult to get out of, makes their situation precarious and fuels “false contracts”.
- The mechanisms for the regularization of undocumented persons who live and work in this country (Articles 88 and 89) are of an unofficial nature and are defined in the Law as exceptional, which reinforces the discretionary powers of the SEF and the Government.
- It is practically impossible for a foreigner@ to obtain a visa to work in Portugal, before coming here , as it is necessary to previously present an employment contract, or, at the very least, an “individualized expression of interest by the employer”, in addition to the extreme difficulty and delay in the entire process. Now, which employer will offer employment to an immigrant before @ meeting him? The current system does not actually promote the much-vaunted “legal immigration”.
- Quota policies were once again a failure . To make matters worse, the Government is counting the regularization of the undocumented who already live and work here for the quotas, as if it were new entrances to the labor market.
- With the definition of minimum income, the right to family reunification has been more and more limited and inadequate to the reality of the national average salary.
In their relationship with the Portuguese State, non-regularized immigrants see that there are two clearly different weights and measures, depending on whether it is a matter of fulfilling duties or having their rights recognised. For example, Social Security and Finance receive contributions from those who do not have a regularized document situation, but if @ immigrant is dismissed from work, his right to receive unemployment benefit is denied, alleging the lack of a Visa or Authorization of Residence. The same applies to maternity leave and any other type of social protection.
On 18 December – International Migrant Day – 2008, the European Year for Intercultural Dialogue, the year that also marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we claim what should be the true meaning of these ephemeris, we claim rights and dignified treatment for all people, regardless of where they were born.