How Ukrainian Refugees Can Move to Portugal

By James Cave / Published: March 2022.
Posted in: Visas & Residency

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Є переклад українською мовою

“Portugal stands ready to support Member States neighbouring Ukraine to ensure international protection to those in need and to welcome Ukrainians who wish to continue their lives here” – António Costa 

According to Portugal’s prime minister, António Costa, Ukrainian refugees who wish to continue their lives in Portugal are welcome to do so. Portugal is considered safe, tolerant and welcoming of foreigners, and has a good quality of life thanks to its warm weather and laid-back lifestyle. The Portuguese government has also promised that the process of moving to Portugal will be simplified for Ukrainian refugees, due to the extreme circumstances. 

Ukrainians who move here will be in good company: Ukrainians are one of the largest groups of foreigners living in Portugal with 28,629 living in Portugal as of 2020, making it the fifth-largest group[1]https://sefstat.sef.pt/Docs/Rifa2020.pdf. The four largest groups are Brazilians, British, Cape Verdians, and Romanians, respectively. 

Note: this article shouldn’t replace official sources, such as the Embassy of Ukraine in Lisbon and information provided by SEF and other Portuguese government departments. 

Getting Here

Portugal is one of the furthest European locations from Ukraine. While at least one bus has been sent to Ukraine to pick up refugees, the majority will probably have to make their way to Portugal themselves. Thankfully, some companies are offering discounted or free European travel for Ukrainians. 

Job Opportunities 

Ukrainian refugees will be able to work in Portugal and will have more than 11,500 jobs to choose from, according to the Ministry for Labour, Solidarity and Social Security. Portugal currently has shortages of labour in several areas, particularly builders and tradespeople and within the tourism industry. The Algarve tourism industry has said that it is ready to offer jobs and accommodation to Ukrainian refugees, according to Sic [in Portuguese].

According to information on the IEFP website, Ukrainians who wish to apply for these job opportunities should fill out this form on the IEFP website as a first step.  

For those that work in tech, a job board called Jobs4Ukraine has been established which aims to connect companies offering remote jobs with Ukrainians. Although not specifically aimed at Ukrainians, there are also other remote job boards out there like WeWorkRemotely.com and Remote.co.

Accommodation

  • WeHelpUkraine.org is connecting those who need accommodation with those who can offer it (along with jobs and other essentials)
  • Shelter4ua.com lists people in Portugal (and worldwide) that have offered their homes to fleeing Ukrainians 
  • EU4UA connects Ukrainian refugees with people in Europe who are willing to host them
  • Airbnb has said that it will offer accommodation for up to 14 days for fleeing refugees. This accommodation is being made available to refugees through the UN Refugee Agency

Registration 

According to eportugal, upon entering Portugal, Ukrainian citizens will be automatically assigned the following identification numbers:

  • Tax Identification Number (NIF) 
  • Social Security Identification Number (NISS) 
  • National Health Service (SNS) User Number

In practice, this means Ukrainians will have the same access to healthcare, job opportunities, and employment as Portuguese citizens. 

SEF, the Portuguese immigration and service, has established desks exclusively for Ukrainians at many offices across Portugal. Details, including addresses and opening hours, can be found here.

The Portal da Justiça has also created a special page [in English and Ukrainian] for Ukrainians with information about:

  • Applying for a citizen’s card 
  • Requesting a passport 
  • Registering a child 
  • Registering a marriage 
  • Requesting Portuguese nationality 
  • Registering the death of a relative 
  • Services for companies (such as creating a company, opening a branch, regularizing a company)

There is also a web form at the bottom of that page that you can fill out if you need further information.

‘Linha Registos’ has a special helpline for Ukrainian citizens: 211 950 500 and press #2 (Monday – Friday, from 9 am to 5 pm). 

The Instituto dos Registos e Notariado (Institute of Registration and Notary Affairs – IRN) also has two desks in Lisbon and two in Porto which have been specifically dedicated to Ukrainian citizens. 

Legal Support

Moving to Portugal can be complicated, even with a simplified process. The Portuguese Bar has published various lists of lawyers, broken down by region, that are offering their services ‘pro bono’ to Ukrainian refugees who wish to move to Portugal. [This is discussed further in this article]

Learning Portuguese

English is widely spoken in Portugal, particularly in areas with large amounts of tourism like coastal regions such as the Algarve and large cities such as Lisbon and Porto. However, learning Portuguese is obviously important as well.

New residents can obtain free Portuguese lessons through the IEFP (Instituto de Emprego e Formação Profissional). There are also a number of Portuguese courses and resources available online. There is a fee for the majority of courses, but the following article contains a list of free resources for learning Portuguese

Other resources:

  • Practice Portuguese, one of the most popular language learning programs, is offering free premium access to Ukrainians that move to Portugal. Simply contact them for more information.

Further Information 

  • [email protected] – A specific email address, which was created created by the High Commission for Migration (ACM), to provide information to Ukrainian citizens who want to come to Portugal or to Ukrainian citizens living in Portugal who want to know how to bring their family to Portugal. 

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