Access to the labour market


Country Report: Access to the labour market Last updated: 12/05/23


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The law provides for the right of refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection to access the labour market pursuant to general rules.[1]

Similarly to asylum seekers (see Reception Conditions: Access to the Labour Market), there are no limitations attached to the right of beneficiaries of international protection to employment such as labour market tests or prioritisation of nationals and third-country nationals. The issuance and renewal of residence permits by SEF is free of charge.[2] The only restriction on employment enshrined in the law consists in limited access for all third-country nationals to certain categories of employment in the public sector.[3]

Beneficiaries of international protection benefit from the same conditions of employment as nationals, i.e., in terms of salaries and working hours.[4] The law provides, however, for specific formalities in the case of employment contracts of third-country nationals such as the need for a written contract and its (online) registration with the Authority for Labour Conditions (Autoridade para as Condições do Trabalho, ACT).[5]

Beneficiaries of international protection are equally entitled to access work-related training opportunities for adults, vocational training and practical experiences under the same conditions as nationals.[6]

With the exception of the submission of beneficiaries of international protection to the conditions applicable to nationals of the same country,[7] there are no specific rules regarding the recognition of diplomas and academic qualifications in the Asylum Act and the general rules and practical challenges facing asylum seekers apply (see Reception Conditions: Access to the Labour Market).

There are no statistics available on the number of beneficiaries of international protection in employment at the end of 2022. According to CPR’s experience, despite existing support mechanisms pertaining to language training and employment assistance, asylum seekers and beneficiaries of international protection face many challenges in securing employment that are both general and specific in nature (see Reception Conditions: Access to the Labour Market).




[1] Article 71(1) Asylum Act.

[2] Article 67(4) Asylum Act.

[3] Article 15(2) Constitution; Article 17(1)(a) and (2) Act 35/2014.

[4] Article 71(3) Asylum Act; Article 4 Labour Code.

[5] Article 5 Labour Code.

[6] Article 71(2) Asylum Act. Even though related to the right to education, Article 70(2) Asylum Act seems to enshrine a similar right to training.

[7] Article 70(3) Asylum Act.

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