The reopening of Portugal to tourists from Brazil —announced last Wednesday (1st), after almost a year and a half of prohibition— should provoke a new wave of immigration to the European country, assess support entities and specialized consultants.
As soon as the measure was announced, forums and groups on social networks were flooded with enthusiastic publications from those who were waiting for this moment. Demand for airline tickets also exploded, depleting tickets for several flights in September.
Anticipating the arrival of a significant contingent, Casa do Brasil in Lisbon (CBL), an NGO that provides assistance to the migrant community, is preparing to launch a program aimed at this audience.
Together with other entities, CBL organizes a series of informative content and legal advice with volunteer experts. The objective is to guide those interested in moving to Portugal, preferably while they are still in Brazil, on the rights and duties of the immigration process.
In the assessment of the president of the NGO, psychologist Cyntia de Paula, the last few months have seen a huge repressed demand from Brazilians who want to live in Europe. “Portugal has always been a destination that attracted Brazilians, but we cannot forget the moment in Brazil. There is great uncertainty about what will happen from now on, and there is in fact the search for alternatives for a dignified life”, he says.
Unlike several countries in the European Union, Portugal has a theoretically simple process for the regularization of those who arrive as a tourist and end up staying to live and work. In the last decade, this was the main way for Brazilians to obtain residence permits.
Although known, the process is often time-consuming. It usually takes two to three years to obtain the documentation, but with the pandemic, the period has increased. About 220 thousand people benefited from a temporary regularization, created by the Portuguese government as a response to the health crisis, generating extra demand for the already saturated service provided by the SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service).
For 2021, there are no longer any vacancies in immigration services. When new times become available, they usually run out in minutes. “There is, of course, this catastrophic situation of the SEF delay, but there are many other problems. Those who immigrate irregularly are more subject to exploitation and worse working conditions. Everything is more difficult”, says the president of Casa do Brasil in Lisbon.
“It’s always better to come with a visa and with a plan. Fortunately, with the pandemic, many people took the opportunity to plan. It is important to have reliable information so as not to fall into traps.”
Migration flows between Portugal and Brazil are closely linked to the economic and social situation. In 2020, the number of legally resident Brazilians increased for the fourth consecutive year, reaching a record 183,993 residents, according to the SEF.
The numbers, enough for Brazilians to be the largest foreign community in the country, are actually much smaller than the real amount. The statistics do not include who also has Portuguese nationality or from another European Union country or who is in an irregular migratory situation. Itamaraty works with an estimate of around 300,000 Brazilians living in Portugal.
Luxury market prepares to reopen
The reopening for all travelers from Brazil also stirred up the middle and upper class immigration market, which is increasingly popular in Portugal. In the market of so-called gold visas —which grant residence permits to foreigners who spend 500,000 euros (about R$ 3 million) on real estate in Portugal—, travel authorization has led to a jump in demand.
Owner of an immigration and relocation consultancy company, Patrícia Lemos reports an increase in the flow of calls and messages on the networks since the announcement of the decision to allow the entry of travelers from Brazil. “This reopening rekindled the flame of hope for those who wanted to come. Many clients already had plans to buy real estate here, but they didn’t want to do it from a distance. There are also those who want to come first to get to know the country and then have more confidence to hammer out change”, he says.
Patrícia says that in 24 hours she has already confirmed the trip and visits to properties of five clients interested in gold visas. Others are already in a hurry to also be able to organize the trip.
Owner of an Instagram profile with more than 200,000 followers, in which she shares tips and trivia about family life in Portugal, the businesswoman says that the demand for information from those interested in immigrating led to the creation of a specific course on the subject, the Journey Portugal.
Unlike other countries that once again allow the entry of Brazilian tourists, Portugal does not require travelers to be vaccinated. You must, however, have a negative Covid test (PCR or antigen type). Children under 12 and holders of a valid EU health certificate are exempt from taking the exam. The authorization for Brazilian tourists is initially valid until September 16, “and may be revised at any time, depending on the evolution of the epidemiological situation”.