• Margarida Reis
4. term, Global Refugee Studies, Master (Master Programme)

The world is currently facing the most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression and the European Union (EU) is no exception. The economic recession has forced many businesses to close, the unemployment has significantly risen and the levels of consumption are the lowest point. This is the reality that Portugal is experiencing, as it is one of the EU most affected countries.
The Portuguese society has also been strongly affected by the economic turmoil with many people losing their jobs and significant cuts in the budget of many sectors as well as in social welfare provided by the state.
In the case of its immigrant population the consequences are more significant as many of them are employed in the sectors were more affected with the current crisis, and they eventually end up losing their jobs.
The purpose of this project is to analyze the effects of the economic crisis on the immigrant population in Portugal. The reality is that a great number of third-country nationals are experiencing severe and unsustainable difficulties. Many support services have noticed an increase number of immigrants requesting social support as food, accommodation, clothes debts or finding a job. Moreover, without job immigrants have more difficulties in renovating their residence permit and many risk becoming irregular migrants. These situations increase the risk of immigrants to develop mental disorders as depression and many of them find a solution in dependencies such as the alcohol.
Another consequence of this economic slowdown is the fact that many immigrants are choosing to return home because the conditions in Portugal have become unsustainable.
These are some of the consequences of the current crisis in Portugal and in many other European countries. This project will look upon the consequences of the economic recession among the immigrant population, giving a major focus on the number of immigrants wishing to return home, through the Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) program of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) operating in Portugal.
This research is based on my experience as a volunteer in the Jesuit Refugee Service in Portugal, a non-governmental organization whose work is to help migrants on their integration in Portugal. This project will also be analyzed having the “push and pull” theories with an economic approach as a background.

Publication date31 May 2012
Number of pages65
ID: 63478676