The number of Brazilian immigrants in Portugal that require financial help to purchase air tickets to their home country rose 52.1% last year, reaching the highest proportional number ever recorded -- 93% of all granted requested came from Brazilians.
Last year, 353 Brazilian citizens received aid from a voluntary return program offered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the Portuguese government.
Since 2007, Brazilians lead among the nationalities that resort to the program. And the lead has only grown in the last two years.
"The proportion of Brazilians was around 80% in the last decade. Between 2017 and 2018, it reached 90%," said LuÃs Carrasquinho, one of IOM's representatives in Portugal.
Although Brazilians make up the largest immigrant community in Portugal, in absolute numbers they make up only 20.3% of the total number of immigrants in the country.
Carrasquinho says that behind many financial aid requests there are cases of immigration with no previous preparation, of people who were not aware of the requirements to be a legal immigrant in Portugal.
"Although there is plenty of information online and in the official channels, we see people who didn't know basic information about documents, housing and access to public health. Many only rely upon friends or relatives."
Translated by NATASHA MADOV