Country Report: Housing Last updated: 12/05/23


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The law provides for the right of refugees and beneficiaries of subsidiary protection to housing under the same conditions of foreign nationals legally residing in Portugal,[1] therefore encompassing public housing.[2]

While CPR is not aware of systematic instances of homelessness among beneficiaries of international protection, access to adequate housing is identified as a major issue within the national context by asylum seekers, refugees and NGOs.[3] Factors such as high prices, and contractual demands including high deposits, need of guarantors and proof of income hinder the capacity of asylum seekers and refugees to access the market directly, and that of frontline service providers to increase reception capacity. Consequently, asylum seekers and refugees often have to resort to overcrowded or sub-standard housing options when accessing the private housing market.[4]

Given the impact of the matter, in 2022, the SOG decided to include it in the agenda of all its extended line-up meetings. Throughout the year, this topic continued to be discussed in the extended line up of the group, and the creation of a specific sub-group to deal with housing is being considered.

Access of beneficiaries of international protection to public housing remains extremely limited for reasons that according to CPR’s experience have traditionally been linked to legal constraints under previous rules, limited stock of available public housing, lack of prioritisation of beneficiaries of international protection in public housing policy and heavy bureaucratic requirements.

Within the context of resettlement, hosting entities are responsible for the provision of accommodation. In the case of resettled refugees supported by CPR, the reception program includes an initial period of accommodation in a reception centre – CAR 2 (3 to 6 months).

The average length of stay in the centre has increased in recent years (no less than 8 months in 2022, compared to 4.5 months in 2019), namely due to challenges in accessing housing in the private market. These difficulties have also been compounded by rent increases and evictions of families that had already left the reception centre.

Decree-Law 26/2021 of 31 March 2021[5] created, inter alia, a National Pool of Urgent and Temporary Accommodation and a National Plan of Urgent and Temporary Accommodation. Recognising the lack of solutions in this regard, the National Plan aims to create structured responses to people in need of emergency or transition accommodation.[6]

According to the Decree-Law, the National Plan covers persons under the mandate of the entities that form the restricted line-up of the SOG (SEF, ACM and ISS).[7] Referrals of applicants for/beneficiaries of international protection to accommodation within this context should made by ACM/ISS.[8] Such referrals must be communicated to the SOG.[9] Additionally, entities responsible for the reception of applicants and beneficiaries of international protection may access support to promote urgent and temporary accommodation solutions for the National Pool.[10]

At the time of writing, the implementation and impact of this legislation was unclear.




[1] Article 74 Asylum Act.

[2] Article 5 Public Leasing Act; Article 5 Regulation 84/2018.

[3] In addition to CPR, SCML and JRS also expressed this concern when providing information for the AIDA report.

[4] It should be noted that while these issues are not only specific to applicants and beneficiaries of international protection, factors such as the absence of support networks increase their impact in asylum seeking and refugee families.

[5] Available at: https://bit.ly/3Oc68Ct. The functioning of the National Pool of Urgent and Temporary Accommodation is governed by Ministerial Order 120/2021, 8 June, available at: https://bit.ly/3uEmOLm.

[6] Article 11 Ministerial Order 120/2021, 8 June defines the maximum periods of emergency/transition accommodation – 15 days or 6 months, respectively, that may be renewed for an equal period. A specific regime applies to victims of domestic violence.

[7] Article 5(1)(b)(iii) Decree-Law 26/2021 of 31 March.

[8] Article 12(1) and (2) Ministerial Order 120/2021, 8 June.

[9] Article 12(3) Ministerial Order 120/2021, 8 June.

[10] Article 12 Decree-Law 26/2021 of 31 March; article 26(c) Decree-Law 37/2018 of 4 June; article 7(c) Ministerial Order 120/2021, 8 June.

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