Improve citizenship procedures without affecting rights, say Portuguese Jews

Representatives of the Jewish community of Lisbon (CIL), Portugal’s EJC affiliate, met with members of the Portuguese Parliament to discuss potential changes to the Nationality Law regarding the descendants of Sephardic Jews.

After the ruling socialist party (PS) had dropped plans to introduce a two-year residency requirement to grant citizenship to Sephardic Jews, which had been considered unacceptable to the CIL, concerns had been raised about a clause requiring “emotional and traditional connection with the former Portuguese Sephardic Community.”

In a statement, entitled “improving procedures yes, removing rights, no”, the CIL declared that it would seek to work alongside the government to find effective solutions in order to mitigate adverse effects produced by excessive advertisement of the possibility of being granted Portuguese citizenship, and without affecting rights and eliminating existing guarantees for the descendants of Sephardic Jews.

As many as 10.000 applied for Portuguese citizenship between January and April 2020 on the basis of this law.

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