“We have a large Ukrainian community in Portugal, which is perfectly settled, integrated and stabilised, many of the people who come to Portugal have family members or friends who are already here and who will support them in the first phase”, she said.
The official said that Portugal is in a position to welcome these people and stressed that the country “needs people”.
“We clearly need people. The working population has been reduced a lot, Portugal needs people and, in that perspective, the idea we have is to welcome as many people as possible”, she said.
Francisca Van Dunem praised the work of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) employees, “who formed teams of volunteers to work overtime in shifts”.
“I am convinced that, being an exceptional moment and of great emotional charge (…), a feeling of great solidarity was generated in Portuguese society that SEF did not escape this feeling”, said the minister.
The minister also pointed to the increase in the SEF's screening capacity to ensure the security of the entire process, namely the teams sent to the Warsaw and Bucharest consulates to strengthen the means and facilitate the screening of people in order to activate the mechanism of protection.
Regarding the necessary security check on arrival, she said that, in cases where people do not bring identification documents, this check can be done, for example, by witness evidence, “similar to what happens when you go to vote”.
She explained that only after SEF has checked security and given the green light is the person allowed to remain in Portugal.
“If, for example, there have been no serious crimes committed – which will be in European databases – and so far no case has appeared”, the person has the green light to stay in Portugal.
The minister also added that all arriving people have immediate protection, which allows them to have access to a number for health services, social security and a tax number.
“This way it will be possible to benefit from social support (…), from health care, which many will need (physical and psychological). The NIF [tax identification number] will allow you to enter the job market”, said Van Dunem, recalling the more than 13,000 job offers already registered by companies.
Asked about the maximum number that Portugal can accommodate, she said she did not yet have a number, stressing that the country is working with the European Union on the distribution of quotas by countries.