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Israelis leave for Portugal on ‘refugee visas’ to escape war

December 13, 2023 at 9:34 am

Demonstrators march behind a banner from Martim Moniz Square to Largo Jose Saramago during a protest on December 08, 2023, in Lisbon, Portugal [Horacio Villalobos#Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images]

A number of Israelis have migrated to Portugal as “refugees” after Lisbon offered Israelis “easy and convenient” immigration procedures that could be completed in less than 24 hours.

Hebrew Channel 12 said all an Israeli needs to apply for asylum in Portugal is a valid passport, to issue a “refugee” visa that allows residence and work in the country.

The Israeli refugees in Portugal will also be able to obtain financial assistance from the government, which many of them have accepted, according to the source.

Yaron, who took refuge in Portugal and lives in Lisbon, said he went to the immigration office, and when they learned that he was from Israel, he was able to obtain a “refugee” visa within hours. The visa must be renewed every two months.

According to the channel, before the war, no Israeli had sought refugee status in Portugal, but the situation changed after 7 October.

READ: UN says Israel will not renew visa for top aid official

Israeli lawyer, Nofer Bar, said that among those leaving were Israelis who survived the attacks of 7 October and who were no longer able to imagine living in Israel.

While many young people, he explained, saw asylum in Portugal as an opportunity to work and live in Europe later.

Portugal, he added, may change the law at any time and is no longer accepting asylum requests, instead refugees must wait for an interview date to finally decide on their status.