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High Commissioner for Migration (ACM)

The High Commissioner for Migration (ACM), a Public Institute under the direct responsibility of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, has the mission of collaborating in the definition, execution and evaluation of public, transversal and sectoral policies on migration, relevant to the attraction of migrants. in national, international and Portuguese-speaking contexts, for the integration of immigrants and ethnic groups, in particular Roma communities, and for the management and appreciation of the diversity between cultures, ethnicities and religions. On the issue of international protection, the ACM, together with the SEF, reviews, verifies and approves UNHCR references.


United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

It is an international humanitarian organization, strictly apolitical, whose mission is to protect and help refugees around the world. UNHCR Works in countries of origin and transit to save lives and protect the rights of refugees, identifying vulnerable people, then referring them to third countries for resettlement. Its status gives it two main functions:

  • Ensure the “international protection” of refugees;

  • Look for “permanent and lasting solutions” to your problems;

  • UNHCR's activities are financed almost entirely by contributions from States, non-governmental organizations and individuals. Only a small amount comes from the United Nations budget.



An individual who does not hold any nationality, that is, a person who is not considered a national by any State.



The granting by the State of protection in its territory to persons from another State fleeing persecution or serious danger. Asylum encompasses a variety of elements, including non-refoulement , permission to remain on the territory of the country of asylum and decent reception conditions.


residence permit

The authorization issued by the Portuguese authorities under the legal terms that allows a foreigner or a stateless person to reside in the national territory;


Beneficiary of international protection

A person who has been granted refugee status or subsidiary protection status;


reception center

Any place used for the collective accommodation of asylum seekers or refugees;


Geneva Convention

The Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, done at Geneva on 28 July 1951, as amended by the Protocol of New York of 31 January 1967;


Internally Displaced Persons

These are people who left their homes, their land, for reasons similar to those of refugees, but did not cross the borders of their country - perhaps because mountains or rivers prevented them from doing so or because they fled relatively close, in the hope of being able to quickly return ;


Subsidiary protection status

The recognition, by the competent Portuguese authorities, of a foreigner or a stateless person as an eligible person for granting a residence permit for subsidiary protection;


Mixed migratory flows

These are movements of people from one country and/or continent to another and which may or may not include people with international protection needs. Mixed flows happen when a country of origin is simultaneously affected by human rights violations and economic decline.


Unaccompanied Minors (MNA)

Any third-country nationals or stateless persons under the age of 18 who enter national territory unaccompanied by an adult who, by law or custom, is responsible for them, until they are effectively taken care of by that person, or that have been abandoned after entering national territory;


reasons for persecution

Those that justify the well-founded fear of the applicant being persecuted, which must be assessed taking into account the notions of:

  • Race, which includes, in particular, considerations associated with color, ancestry or belonging to a particular ethnic group;

  • Religion, which includes, inter alia, having theistic, non-theistic and atheistic convictions, participating in or abstaining from participation in private or public worship ceremonies, either individually or together with others, in other religious acts or expressions of convictions, or forms of personal or community behavior based on or imposed by religious creeds;

  • Nationality, which is not limited to citizenship or lack thereof, but also covers, inter alia, membership of a group determined by its cultural, ethnic or linguistic identity, by its common geographical or political origins or by its relationship with the population of another State;

  • Group, a specific social group in specific cases where: the members of that group share an innate characteristic or a common history that cannot be altered, or they share a characteristic or belief considered so fundamental to the identity or conscience of the members of the group. group that cannot be demanded that they renounce it; and that group has a distinct identity in the country in question, because it is seen as different by the society that surrounds it;

  • Political opinion, which includes, inter alia, the fact of having an opinion, idea or ideal in a matter related to the potential agents of the persecution of its policies or methods, whether or not that opinion, idea or ideal is expressed by acts of the applicant;


safe third country

The country where the asylum seeker has stayed or transited before arriving in Portugal and where, demonstrably, he is not the object of threats to his life and freedom, where the principle of non-refoulement and the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, and where you can apply for refugee status and, if granted, receive protection, under the terms of the Geneva Convention.​

Particularly vulnerable people

Persons with special needs, namely minors, unaccompanied minors, the disabled, the elderly, pregnant women, members of single-parent families with minor children and persons who have been subjected to acts of torture, rape or other serious forms of violence psychological, physical or sexual;


first country of asylum

The country in which the applicant has been recognized as a refugee and can still benefit from such protection or enjoy effective protection in that country, under the terms of the Geneva Convention, and where he is demonstrably not the object of threats to his life and liberty, where they are respecting the principle of non-refoulement and the right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, provided that he is readmitted to that country;


Prohibition to repel ( non refoulement )

Also called the non-refoulement or non-refoulement principle. The principle of international asylum law, enshrined in Article 33 of the Geneva Convention, under which asylum seekers must be protected against expulsion or repulsion, directly or indirectly, to a place where their life or liberty is threatened by virtue of their race, religion, nationality, membership of a certain social group or political opinions, this protection does not apply to anyone who constitutes a threat to national security or has been the subject of a final conviction for a particularly serious crime or crime;


international protection

Subsidiary protection status and refugee status;



Relocation consists of transferring applicants between Member States of the European Union, as a measure of solidarity between them to alleviate the most burdened asylum systems. It depends on agreement between the Member States and the applicant.



Refugees are transferred from the country of asylum to a third State that is willing to admit them on a permanent basis with the aim of becoming naturalized citizens.



A foreigner or stateless person who has submitted an application for international protection which has not yet been the subject of a final decision and is therefore awaiting a final decision;


lasting solutions

Any means to satisfactorily and permanently resolve the problems of refugees, allowing them to lead normal lives. Traditionally, UNHCR has presented three durable solutions: voluntary repatriation, local integration and resettlement.

Complementary Pathways

Complementary routes are safe and legal routes that allow the reception of refugees in addition to resettlement, providing protection and stay in a third country. The complementary pathways are varied and with different objectives, supporting refugees in multiple ways, such as:
• Family Reunification
• Humanitarian Admission – Humanitarian Visas, Humanitarian Corridors
• Education and Employment Opportunities
• Private and Community Sponsorship

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A refugee is a person who has been forced to leave his country because of conflicts, wars or personal and group persecution, with a well-founded fear of persecution on grounds of “race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion”. Refugees exist because their countries of origin are unable or unwilling to provide the protection and security they need. 


"A foreigner who, rightly fearing that he will be persecuted as a result of activities carried out in the State of his nationality or of his habitual residence in favor of democracy, social and national liberation, peace among peoples, freedom and the rights of the human person or by reason of his race, religion, nationality, political beliefs or membership of a particular social group, is outside the country of which he is a national and is unable or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to seek the protection of that country, or the stateless person who, being outside the country in which he had his habitual residence, for the same reasons as those mentioned above, is unable or, owing to the aforementioned fear, is unwilling to return to it" (Article 33, no. 1 and 2 of Law no. 27/2008, of 30 June).

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Program that supports the reception and integration of refugees, through the involvement of citizens and local communities to provide financial, emotional and social support to refugee families. These programs can be in addition to government-assisted reception and integration programs and are a way to develop a positive and vital interaction between refugees and their new host communities. Community sponsorship programs can:

• A lever to build sustainable resettlement programs ​​and enable more refugees to access protection and lasting solutions;

• A tool to facilitate faster and more efficient integration perspectives, through citizen involvement;

• A tool to increase public support for refugees and promote social cohesion;

• A way of mobilizing additional capacities and resources for the reception and integration of refugees more effectively through a shared responsibility between government, civil society and individuals, for a defined period.


The Portuguese Council for Refugees (CPR) was created on 20 September 1991 with the aim of defending and promoting the Right to Asylum.

It is the only non-governmental organization for development (NGDO) in Portugal, working exclusively with all those who, fleeing persecution motivated by racial, religious, ethnic, membership in social groups, political opinions, armed conflicts and serious violations of Human Rights, come to our country in search of protection, freedom and security. 

For over 30 years, CPR
• Supports the reception and integration of refugees and asylum seekers
• Promotes humane and sustainable asylum policies
• Raises awareness and informs about asylum, refugees and human rights

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