Support to national citizens abroad has been an important area within the framework of the measures that the Government has taken to reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
At first, action in this domain was oriented to support thousands of Portuguese unexpectedly prevented from returning to our country due to the rapid spread of the pandemic.
The Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has already managed to solve more than 80% of the situations of Portuguese who have requested support to return and, at the same time has been, through consulates and embassies, providing social support to nationals who request it, via the Covid-19 line, which continues to operate, the consular emergency line, and the telephone lines and e-mail addresses provided locally by the consulate and embassies.
The Covid-19 lines and the Consular Emergency Office received 17,600 telephone calls and 12,800 electronic messages since the outbreak of the pandemic, continuing this work in close cooperation with the consulates and embassies.
Within this framework, embassies and consulates were instructed by the Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities, through the Directorate - General of Consular Affairs and Portuguese Communities, to assess the social impact of the pandemic in Portuguese communities, in terms of both employment/unemployment and access, by the Portuguese, to extraordinary local policies that have been implemented in the various countries to address the most serious situations, including those of undocumented and detained citizens.
Along the same lines, the Covid-19 hotline of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been adapting to the new reality, having already received and forwarded requests for social support or for information on employment/unemployment situations of nationals residing abroad to the competent posts, and will continue to do so.
Acknowledging that both the identification of cases of need and the support for the Portuguese communities involves articulating with the associative network of diaspora, the programme to support the actions and projects of the associative movements of Portuguese communities abroad will soon be completed, for which a financial package of more than EUR 600,000 has been guaranteed this year.
The Government salutes the concern expressed on this matter by the Councillors of the communities, through their Permanent Council, calling upon them to strengthen the link with embassies and consulates in their respective areas of jurisdiction, thus ensuring a more efficient response to all situations of need.