Portugal's Council of Ministers on Thursday approved a new law designed to make it easier for immigrants to come to Portugal and stay there legally, as well as to fight illegal immigration.
The new law creates a visa that will allow visa-holders from other countries to enter Portugal and begin working in their specified field. Workers, researchers and other qualified foreigners will find their path to Portuguese residence easier.
A separate measure was made to legalize workers already in Portugal, and create a job agency that will establish who can enter Portugal, and the fines to be applied to those who hire workers illegally. The new law also criminalizes visa weddings.
The new law's approval coincided with an official visit by Prime Minister Jose Socrates to Brazil. Around 90,000 Brazilians live in Portugal, making up the largest single group of immigrants to the nation.
Between 50,000 and 60,000 Brazilians are living in Portugal without the right working papers, according to estimates by both governments.
The law also stipulates that all children born in Portugal are entitled to free primary school education and will receive an automatic residence permit.