Housing

Portugal

Country Report: Housing Last updated: 26/05/22

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Portuguese Refugee Council Visit Website

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]

In practice, the financial assistance provided to asylum seekers admitted to the regular procedure in the framework of the dispersal policy managed by the SOG for renting private housing (see Forms and Levels of Material Reception Conditions) will usually be maintained beyond a final decision in the asylum procedure. This typically means that beneficiaries of international protection will generally retain the private housing they have rented throughout the regular procedure.

While CPR is not aware of systematic instances of homelessness among beneficiaries of international protection, housing continues to be an enormous challenge to the integration of both applicants and beneficiaries of international protection, namely due to high housing prices in the private market (in particular in cities such as Lisbon).

Given the impact of the matter, in 2022, the SOG decided to include it in the agenda of all its extended line-up meetings.

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). Before the coronavirus pandemic, the average duration of permanence in CAR 2 was of 4,5 months. In 2020, constraints linked to access to housing in the private market and restrictions to internal travel have led to a growth of the average period of accommodation in CAR 2 to 6 months. In 2021, the average period of accommodation in the facility was of approximately 5 months. Housing continues to be a significant challenge to integration within the context of resettlement as well.

Decree-Law 26/2021 of 31 March[3] 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.[4]

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).[5] Referrals of applicants for/beneficiaries of international protection to accommodation within this context should made by ACM.[6] Such referrals must be communicated to the SOG.[7] 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.[8]

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

 

 

 

[1] Article 74 Asylum Act.

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

[3] 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.

[4] 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.

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

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

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

[8] 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