The majority of the refugees, who are mostly Syrian, are on the run, although 147 have been located, some even arrested, in other countries such as Germany, France, Belgium, Sweden and Holland and sent back to Portugal, which foots the bills for their return.
The remaining 326 are still at large.
These figures were published by newspaper Diário de Notícias (DN), which reveals the migrants’ movements after arriving in Portugal, known as secondary movements, have been debated by the Anti-Terrorism Coordination Unit (UCAT), which agglomerates the country’s main police and secret services.
The group also monitors refugees in Portugal to flag situations of radicalisation.
DN reports that integration difficulties are one of the main reasons that drive refugees to leave the country, and that the high abandonment rate is attracting special attention.
Portugal’s government has acknowledged that Portugal “is not the preferred destination” for the refugees, and that they should be “better informed” about their duties.
The government, via adjunct Minister (without portfolio) Eduardo Cabrita´s office, acknowledged that “our country is not a preferential destination for applicants for international protection”, a situation that it intends to resolve with the “intensification of information about Portugal, in particular with the Refugee Shelter Kit, both in origin and arrival in national territory.”
Addressing a question posed by the Left Bloc during a first parliamentary meeting on the matter held last week, Eduardo Cabrita further admitted that “more information needs to be provided to refugees about relocation rules and the limitation of rights associated with secondary movements. “These rules state that a refugee loses protection rights, such as social security, access to education and the health system outside the country. We fully assume our