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The President of the Republic said today in Odemira that the country “woke up” to the need to accelerate the regularization of immigrants in Portugal and improve their living conditions, considering that the response “is being given” and is being “very fast “.

“People woke up a little to situations that had suddenly increased in a brutal way with the arrival of so many immigrants, [um assunto que] they themselves spoke, to documents.

In all domains of their lives, documentation is sometimes bureaucratic and cumbersome, it’s in all of our lives, now imagine for those who don’t speak the language”, says Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa.

The President of the Republic spoke to journalists during a visit to the village of Odemira (Beja), where he was accompanied by the Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Ana Catarina Mendes, having contacted the migrant population of the county, where many farms are located, which employ thousands of people, mainly from Asia.

Questioned about the action of the competent authorities regarding the situation of many of these migrants, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa said that he considered that “people realized that they had to change their behavior”, faced with a “challenge that was new” and “enormous”, having in view of the need to ensure the prosperity of these people’s lives.

“And I think people woke up to this. Everyone, the Portuguese, the companies, the people themselves [migrantes], and in that sense the answer is being given. And then, the role of the autarchy, of the mayor, is fundamental. It cannot be just a state from a distance. The response is being given, it is being given very quickly”, he said.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa arrived in Odemira at around 2:20 pm, having been greeted with applause by some citizens who were waiting for him at the door of the Odemira Town Hall, having started his visit to the village by watching an immersive theater play about migrations, at the Center in Regional Handicraft Innovation Network.

After the session, which included the viewing of a short video documentary and a tour of the center, the head of state contacted representatives of the migrant communities residing in Odemira, mainly citizens from Asian countries such as Nepal, Thailand and India, but also European ones, like Romania and Ukraine, among others.

Migrants praised the way they were welcomed in Portugal, but had some complaints regarding the condition in which they live, namely due to the lack of housing and public transport in Odemira.

According to the president of the municipality, Hélder Guerreiro, according to data from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) on December 30, 2021, 10,970 foreigners officially resided in Odemira, out of a total of 80 nationals, which represents 7% of the population of the county.

According to the mayor, there are already 3,000 places licensed for the construction of housing on farms, but the process has been delayed due to the increase in the cost of raw materials.

Admitting that the problem “is bigger” in Odemira, because “there are thousands and thousands and, at certain times of the year, it still increases” the number of migrants, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa congratulates himself for having already started the process of building houses that, although delayed, should follow “in the coming months and years”.

According to Hélder Guerreiro, although most migrants living in Odemira work in agriculture, many are currently also working in the tourism sector.

The mayor, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and Ana Catarina Mendes had to follow a meeting with parish council presidents at the City Council, from where they went to a public garden to attend a cultural moment.

Portugal “woke up” to the need to respond to the increase in immigration

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