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18 June 2021

Applicants and beneficiaries of international protection in Portugal: Asylum 2021 statistical report

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The analysis within this report uses data disseminated by international sources (e.g., UNHCR and EUROSTAT) and administrative data from national sources that accompany the process (e.g., the Foreigners and Borders Service, ISS Facility Services, the High Commission for Migration, the Lisbon Holy House of Mercy, and the Portuguese Refugee Council), to highlight both the main trends and sociodemographic characteristics of applicants and beneficiaries of international protection in Portugal in 2019 and 2020.

The main conclusions of the report are as follows:

  • The five main nationalities of asylum seekers in Portugal (Angolan, Bissau-Guinean, Gambian, Guinean and Venezuelan) represent approximately half of the total requests for international protection processed in the country.
  • Although unaccompanied foreign minors are few in Portugal, in recent years requests for protection from unaccompanied foreign minors have increased in number (in 2020 there were almost 100 requests).
  • The proportion of international protection requests that result in the granting of refugee status fluctuates in Portugal (35.3% in 2019; 78.9% in 2020).
  • In the last two years, Portugal has been one of the countries with the lowest rate of positive first instance decisions when it comes to requests for international protection (in 2019 and 2020 this rate stood at 23%), falling well below the European average of 40.7%.
  • In 2015, as a result of the creation of the Working Group for the European Agenda on Migration, Portugal initiated a new reception programme for those relocated and resettled in the country. It is clear from the monitoring data that almost all people in the programme in 2020 were successfully registered with the National Health Service, and as far as access to social security and taxpayer numbers is concerned the figures also show positive developments.
  • In 2020, only a minority of individuals relocated and resettled in foster care had access to Portuguese classes (approximately 36%). The context of the pandemic and related restrictions may explain this sharp drop.

Further information can be found here.

Requerentes e Beneficiários de Proteção Internacional em Portugal. Relatório Estatístico do Asilo 2021
(5.7 MB - PDF)


Catarina Reis Oliveira
Geographic area
Original source
Posted by
Alina Esteves
Country Coordinator

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