Portuguese communities around the world are one of the most important strategic assets of the Portuguese Foreign Policy and are the most significant display of a global Portugal. They are the gateway to Portugal in the globalised world and, at the same time, the world's point of entry into local and regional territories. There are more than 2 million Portuguese emigrants around the world today, and if we take into account the descendants of Portuguese emigrants, the population with Portuguese origins in hosting countries will be around 5 million - more than 40% of the population residing in the national territory - a diaspora that reached the five continents, which confirms the idea of the global Portuguese community as a very important strategic international asset.
Not only does Portuguese emigration remain a constant feature of our identity, as it continues to shape our imaginary and our society, but it also constitutes a valuable cultural, political and economic heritage due to its size, diversity and geographic spread, which we have a duty to value and preserve. In this regard, we assume, also in this perspective, the importance of focusing on the consolidation of the Portuguese language in the world, seeking to value Portuguese as a language of inheritance and of attachment to the homeland; and we recognise the fundamental role played today by the Portuguese Diaspora as a driver of economic growth in our country.
It is in compliance with the principles of appreciation, preservation and, above all, assistance to Portuguese communities, that the action of the Portuguese State takes place through its internal services and its external network of consular and diplomatic posts, following a set of priorities that are interrelated and, nevertheless, do not exhaust the possibilities of intervention with those who decided to take Portugal with them elsewhere. Therefore, our policy for Portuguese communities is pursued with a view to developing the following priority dimensions:
Safeguarding people and property: consular protection
- Valuing the work of the Consular Emergency Office in supporting consular posts and communities.
- Assisting consular posts and emigrants or travelling citizens, through a response that matches the available means with the diversity of situations of need that may arise.
- Ensuring the inter-institutional coordination required for the implementation of the "National Return Plan".
Enhancing the exercise of citizenship and the representation of the communities
- Promoting voter registration and electoral participation.
- Maintain a dialogue with community representatives through the consultative councils of consular and diplomatic posts and the Council of the Portuguese Communities.
- Allow the renewal of the Citizen Card in Portugal maintaining residence abroad, that is, remaining registered in the electoral rolls of the country of residence.
- Undertake efforts to engage in dialogue with other governmental areas, in order to ensure emigrant citizens further conditions for sharing national values, such as the recent regulation of changes to the Nationality Act and access to identity documents, civil registration and notary services.
Strengthening solidarity towards the communities
- Ensure sustained support for structures that are in charge of helping emigrants in greater need. In this context, strengthen, as far as possible, the support provided in the scope of the ASIC (social support for elderly emigrants in need) and ASEC (social support for emigrant families in need) programmes.
- Improve mechanisms to monitor the working and housing conditions of emigrants in more precarious situations, acting decisively to ensure basic conditions of human dignity.
Promoting investment and entrepreneurship among Portuguese emigrants
- Promoting investment by emigrants and descendants of Portuguese citizens in Portugal in priority sectors (tourism, commerce and industry, culture), but also in social and health sectors.
- Valuing and supporting companies owned by Portuguese and their descendants abroad, in particular through the development of strategic international partnerships between companies, as well as the evolution and dissemination of Emigrant Support Offices (GAE) and the relaunch of the Diaspora Investor Support Office (GAID), integrating its mission in the context of GAE.
Keeping alive the Portuguese culture, memory and identity, and stimulate associative and youth networks
- Stimulating associative networks, in particular by supporting associations and federations of associations, as well as the development of inter-associative cooperation, in order to develop the integration and in particular the democratic mobilisation and establishment of our Communities in the host countries.
- Identifying and supporting networks of Portuguese elected officials, young students, researchers, teachers, and other workers.
- Support initiatives that promote gender equality and equal opportunities.