The Asylum Act provides for the right of asylum seekers to be immediately informed about their rights and duties related to reception conditions. It also foresees that they must be informed about the organisations that can provide assistance and information regarding available reception conditions, including medical assistance. Furthermore, SEF is required to provide asylum seekers with an information leaflet, without prejudice to providing the information contained therein orally. In both cases the information must be provided in a language that the asylum seeker either understands, or is reasonably expected to understand.
In practice, upon registration, asylum seekers receive an information leaflet from SEF regarding their rights and duties that briefly covers some information regarding reception conditions. According to CPR’s experience, the leaflet is only available in a limited number of foreign languages (e.g., Portuguese, French, English, Ukrainian, Russian, Arabic, and Lingala). While specific information leaflets on reception and unaccompanied children (with information on reception conditions) are available online, CPR is not aware of their systematic distribution to asylum seekers, including to unaccompanied children. The information contained in the leaflets is brief and not considered user-friendly, particularly in the case of unaccompanied children.
In accordance with existing MoUs with the authorities (see Responsibility for Reception), CPR provides information to asylum seekers throughout the asylum procedure and particularly during admissibility (including Dublin) and accelerated procedures. This is done through individual interviews as well as through social and legal support. The information provided by CPR broadly covers the information requirements provided in the law as regards the institutional framework of reception, including on the dispersal policy, as well as the types and levels of material reception conditions, access to health care, education, employment, etc. Information leaflets regarding CAR’s support are also distributed.
The information provided by CPR further includes the provision of tailor-made information to unaccompanied children upon their admission to CACR orally and using supporting materials such as a leaflet that contains child-friendly information on internal rules, available services, geographical location, general security tips and contacts, etc. (available in Portuguese, English, Russian, Tigrinya and French).
During the regular procedure and at appeal stage, asylum seekers should benefit from individual follow-up with ISS and SCML. While no research has been conducted to date to assess the impact of the dispersal policy, CPR is not aware of any serious challenges in accessing social services or in the provision of information regarding reception conditions during this stage of the asylum procedure despite some complaints regarding difficulties in securing an appointment/effective contact, accessing specific services, and language barriers.
Other organisations such as JRS, Crescer, and ACM through its Local Support Centres for Migrants Integration (CLAIM), also provide information and assistance to asylum seekers during the first instance of the regular procedure albeit in a limited number of cases and mostly focused on integration.
 Article 49(1)(a) Asylum Act.
 Article 49(1)(a)(iv) Asylum Act.
 Article 49(2) Asylum Act.
 SEF, Informação para Menores Não-Acompanhados Requerentes de Proteção Internacional em Portugal, available in Portuguese at: https://bit.ly/2FFVjc3. SEF, Acolhimento em Portugal, available in Portuguese at: https://bit.ly/2MkBnvC.