Overview of statistical practice
The Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) publishes a yearly statistical report providing information on asylum applications: number, nationalities, place of application, gender, unaccompanied children, positive first instance decisions, relocation. In June 2021, the Observatory for Migration (OM) published “Applicants and Beneficiaries of International Protection – Statistical Report of Asylum 2021”.  This report followed a 2020 statistical report and will become a yearly publication. The publication of such reports follows the adoption of Parliament resolution no. 292/2018 that recommended the publication of a yearly report on national asylum policy.
Applications and granting of protection status at first instance: 2021
|Applicants in 2021||Pending at end 2021||Refugee status||Subsidiary protection||Rejection||Refugee rate||Sub. Prot. rate||Rejection rate|
|Breakdown by countries of origin of the total numbers|
Source: SEF. Rates are calculated by AIDA on the basis of the data provided. Figures lower than 5 are not displayed. Figures higher than 5 not displayed for privacy reasons are marked with “:”.
The above figures and rates only include in-merit decisions at first instance (both in the regular and in accelerated procedures). As such, inadmissibility decisions (240), including Dublin, are not included in the rejection figures. As further explained in the corresponding section of the report, in the national system, an application is examined on the merits in a regular procedure if it is deemed admissible (and not processed under an accelerated procedure) or if the determining authority does not comply with the corresponding time limit. Decisions deeming an application admissible to the regular procedure are not included in the table above as they do not grant/refuse protection to the applicant concerned. According to information provided by SEF, in 2021, 889 admissibility decisions were issued (for the top ten countries of origin: Afghanistan – 614; Morocco – 6; India – 5; Gambia – 19; Republic of Guinea – 12; Guinea Bissau – 15; Angola – 21; Senegal – 6: Pakistan – 31; Sierra Leone – 5).
The Statistical Report of Asylum 2021 recognises the increase in the number of rejections of applications for international protection in recent years. It is argued that such an increase “[…] does not reflect an eventual increased restriction to international protection in the country, instead mirrors the increase of the number of applications for international protection [by applicants] of nationalities whose recognition rate […] has been lower in the general context of EU 27 as well”. As in the 2020 edition, this analysis seems to be exclusively grounded on the assumption that most applications are linked to personal/economic reasons (an explanation offered by SEF to the authors) and to the low recognition rates of the most representative nationalities in corresponding years. The report does not conduct an analysis of the quality of the asylum procedure and decisions adopted therein.
Gender/age breakdown of the total number of applicants: 2021
|Total number of applicants||1,537||100%|
|Men, incl. children||1,051||68.4%|
|Women, incl. children||486||31.6%|
Source: SEF (data). Rates are calculated by AIDA on the basis of the data provided.
Information on appeals: 2021
According to information provided by the High Council of Administrative and Fiscal Courts (Conselho Superior dos Tribunais Administrativos e Fiscais, CSTAF), in 2021, the Administrative Circle Court (Tribunal Administrativo de Círculo, TAC) of Lisbon was the only Court with a specific registration string pertaining to asylum-related appeals covering the whole year. While the remaining first instance administrative courts did not have such a registration string, CSTAF was able to provide data on appeals based on information available on the corresponding IT system and in cooperation with each Court. Higher Courts do not collect autonomous data on asylum-related processes.
A total of 294 appeals against negative decisions were filed in national first instance courts. This represents a decrease of 44% compared to 2020, when 525 appeals were registered in total.
TAC Lisbon continued to be (by far) the first instance court adjudicating the majority of asylum-related cases in Portugal. Out of the 294 appeals against negative asylum decisions, 250 were registered in this Court (i.e., 85% of all appeals). In 2021, appeals were further lodged in TAF Almada, TAF Braga, TAF Coimbra, TAF Leiria, TAF Loulé, TAF Porto and TAF Sintra.
Appeals concerned applicants of 40 nationalities, as well as stateless persons. The most represented nationalities among appellants included Gambia (52), Guinea (35), Guinea Bissau (32), Senegal (23), and Angola (20). According to CSTAF, out of the total of 294 appeals, 256 concerned male applicants and 38 concerned female applicants.
In 2021, first instance courts issued a total of 283 asylum-related appeal decisions, of which 139 concerned Dublin cases. The data available does not include a breakdown of the remaining procedures concerned. Out of the total of 283 decisions, 240 were issued by TAC Lisbon. Out of the total of 283 asylum-related appeal decisions (first instance courts), 44 were in favour of the applicant (19 granting subsidiary protection, 13 determining that the procedure should be resumed/reanalysed by the administrative authority, 12 determining Dublin procedures should be resumed/reanalysed by the administrative authority). Additionally, there were 239 decisions ruling against the appellants. By the end of the year, 11 cases were pending in first instance courts.
Out of the total of 250 appeals filled in TAC Lisbon, 29 were decided in favour of the appellant, 211 against the appellant, and 10 were pending by the end of the year.
As such, the overall success rate of appeals at the TAC Lisbon (all countries of origin and procedures included) stood at roughly 12%. The overall success rate of appeals in courts outside Lisbon stood roughly at 34.9%. The overall success rate of appeals at national level stood at 15.5%. In the case of Gambia, the most represented nationality at appeal stage, the overall success rate of appeals was around 2%. With a few exceptions, success rates for other nationalities were equally low. For the other most represented countries of origin at appeals stage, the success rates were as follows: Guinea (11.4%); Guinea-Bissau (9.4%); Senegal (8.7%); Angola (25%).
The available information does not allow for clear-cut statistics on decision rates per type of procedure. Nevertheless, according to information available to CPR, the main type of asylum procedures used in 2021 to reject asylum applications at first instance consisted of (for the most represented countries of origin at appeal stage) accelerated procedures in the case of Angola and Guinea-Bissau, and Dublin procedures in the case of Gambia, Guinea, and Senegal.
According to information provided by CSTAF, a total of 46 appeals were filed in second instance courts (TCA South and TCA North) in 2021. Out of these, 6 were filled by the asylum authority (1 was decided favourably, and 5 were rejected). The remaining 40 were filed by the applicants (6 were decided favourably).
 SEF, Yearly Statistical Reports, available at: https://bit.ly/3vHDYbz. These reports are usually published in June (with information on the previous year).
 The report covers 2020.
 According to CPR’s observation of national jurisprudence, instances where national courts decide to grant protection directly are traditionally extremely rare.