When the church deals with migration and settlement

On 22 January 2019, I participated in an event organised by Caritas Portugal, and the Parliament of Portugal, entitled: Pacto Global para as Migrações Ordenadas, Seguras e Regulares – da sua adoção à implementação nacional. The main objective of the event was to provide an assessment of the activities carried out in Portugal since the Global Compact signed in Marrakesh on 10 and 11 December 2018.

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Brexit and Portuguese emigration

The deal negotiated by May has been rejected, and European member states prepare for a no deal Brexit.
What does it mean for Portugal you may ask?
Well, one thing is what it means for Portuguese in the UK. I just came across today’s news and here is a screenshot of what worries Portugal.

With more than 300,000 Portuguese living in the UK, consular services are expected to be more solicited than usual, says the article, and this will require extra resources.

I did some homework, since this is not really my field, and it seems that the fear comes from the fact that without a deal, the March 2018 draft withdrawal agreement which provides that “a number of residency rights for EU citizens and their families, whether EU citizens or not, would be protected and continue in the same way as they currently exist under EU law” (see Adrienne Yong’s article on the topic) will not be applied. The EU settlement scheme is a partial success and it is not clear if it will continue. And the transition period provided by the now rejected deal (until December 2020) is at risk.

And indeed, in a fact sheet created by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, published in 2016, it was stated “EEA migrants and their family members should be able to continue to exercise treaty rights to live, work and study in the UK until such a time as negotiations for the UK to officially leave the EU have come to a conclusion”. Well… No conclusion yet…

If this is not yet clear what will happen next, the 3 million EU residents in the UK are quite uncertain of their future status, including the 10% Portuguese among them.