Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure


Country Report: Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure Last updated: 21/05/21


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Within the context of the EU emergency relocation programme (2015-2018), it was observed that SEF generally granted subsidiary protection to Syrians and refugee status to Eritreans.

In the course of 2019, CPR observed that, SEF deemed a significant number of applications lodged by Venezuelans as unfounded within accelerated procedures (notably on grounds of irrelevance),[1] and referred the cases to regularisation procedures through the humanitarian clause of the exceptional regularisation regime of the Immigration Act.[2]

According to the decisions, such a referral was done due to the political, social, and humanitarian crisis in the country and its impacts in the regular functioning of institutions and public services. While further information on the conduct of such procedures was not available to CPR at the time of writing, this is an uncommon practice from the authorities that was only systematically applied to Venezuelans.[3] The practice was confirmed in the Statistical Report of Asylum (2020).[4] While official data in this regard is not available, according to CPR’s observation, this practice persisted in 2020.

TCA South analysed one such decision in 2020. In the case concerned, the applicant referred to the overall conditions in Venezuela (insecurity, lack of living conditions, lack of access to essential goods) and, particularly, to the lack of access to necessary medication. The Court considered that the first instance decision was contradictory. It was also concluded, inter alia, that given the publicly available information regarding the situation in Venezuela, it is notorious that the socio-economic situation is harsh, with shortages of food and medicines, and growing violence. The Court concluded that, given the applicant’s statements and the available information, the allegations were pertinent and relevant, and the application should be analysed within the regular procedure. [5]

Furthermore, the practice seems to contradict the position assumed by Portugal externally regarding persons fleeing Venezuela, notably the pledges made in the 2019 Global Refugee Forum where Portugal committed “to ensure financial contributions for […] joint operations of the UNHCR/IOM operation in Colombia (to address the urgent needs of Venezuelan refugees) […]” and also referred to supporting the higher education of Venezuelan refugees.[6]



[1]   Article 19(1)(e) Asylum Act.

[2]  Article 123 Immigration Act.

[3] The decisions analysed do not clarify whether such procedures are triggered automatically by SEF and if residence permits on humanitarian grounds are effectively granted.

[4] Observatory for Migration, Entrada, Acolhimento e Integração de Requerentes e Beneficiários de Protecção Internacional em Portugal – Relatório Estatístico do Asilo 2020, May 2020, p.62, available in Portuguese at: https://bit.ly/2MGYtB9.   

[5] TCA South, Decision 1574/19.8BELSB, 17 March 2020, unpublished.

[6]  Statement from Portugal at the Global Refugee Forum,17 December 2019, available at: https://bit.ly/38OHMdM

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation