Portugal lies in south-western Europe and is bordered by the North Atlantic Ocean and Spain. Portugal’s territory also includes the Autonomous Regions of the Azores and Madeira, two archipelagos located in the Atlantic Ocean. The country is made up of a high plain of uneven height split by deep valleys. It features four major rivers, Guadiana River, the Minho which is a natural boundary between Spain, the Douro is known for vineyards producing port wine and the Tagus flows into the Atlantic.
Portugal is home to 10.3 million people. It is a European Union member and a Schengen country. The state Welfare Subsystem is a contributory scheme covering most of the working population. It aims to provide financial support to workers in event of sickness; maternity, paternity and adoption; unemployment; occupational diseases; invalidity; old age; and death.
The Over and above welfare, the Solidarity Subsystem is non-contributory and guarantees citizenship rights, eradicates poverty and supports individual and or family needs not covered by the welfare subsystem. The Family Support, Social Action and Supplementary Systems also provide for the vulnerable and needy.
Portugal’s economy has diversified and is more service-based since joining the EU with tourism having an important role in economic recovery together with the services and technology sectors. The global financial and economic crisis negatively impacted its economy, and the country has adopted an economic adjustment program in partnership with the European Union and the International Monetary Fund. The EU countries account for 75% of the country’s export and 78% of imports.
Portugal offers winter sports, theme parks, arts and culture, beaches and water sports, outdoor adventures and national parks. It offers attractions to young and old across varying interests and social and cultural situations. As a beach break destination, it is foremost. Old world charm abounds in Lisbon, and Porto has a medieval heart worth experiencing. Added attractions are of course the wine, weather, Madeira and gastronomic delights.
The E.U. Travel Information Authorisation System (ETIAS) will be rolled out in 2021 and will affect those nationals from the 62 non-EU countries who benefitted from the visa liberation policy when travelling to Europe. Australians are among those who will be affected by the pre-authorisation system which is very similar to Australia’s own ETA. The system will be equally user-friendly, will cost only 7 Euro for over 18s and will be fast and efficient. Travellers will apply online, and authorisation will be granted within minutes.
The authorisation is electronically attached to the passport and will be valid until the passport expires or three years. The European Commission proposed the system to counter risks to the countries’ borders by escalating terrorist activity and uncontrolled immigrants. The safety of the borders and the European citizens is a major factor behind the implementation of ETIAS.
61,886 Australian residents are of Portuguese ancestry, while 15,804 are Portuguese-born. Tourism and familial visitors are influenced by this large community. Portugal is Australia’s 60th largest inbound market with 6,600 short-stay visitors arriving from Portugal annually. Portugal is Australia’s 53rd most popular short-term destination with 15,400 short-term departures from Australia to Portugal. 1,127 Portuguese students are enrolled in Australian education institutions.
Evidence suggests that Portuguese explorers were the first Europeans to visit Australia many years before Captain Cook. In 1901 311 Portuguese lived in Australia and this hardly changed over the decades until the 1950s when immigrants arrived from Madeira and formed a small fishing community. The first immigrants were rural workers and workers in the construction and manufacturing industries.
Immigration increased dramatically in the late 1960s when Portuguese colonial wars in Angola and Mozambique were a contributor. The wars ended in 1974 by which time more ethnic Portuguese immigrants settled in Australia, seeing the numbers rise from 131 in 1966 to 2,335 in 1986.
The global economic crisis saw Australian merchandise exports to Portugal more than halve in 2016. Portuguese exports to Australia have increased over the last three years. Commercial interests between the two are growing. Australian investment in Portugal includes mining, oil & gas, tourism, aviation services, renewables and information technology. Bilateral agreements between the two countries include the work and holiday visa arrangement and a social security agreement.
Australians wanting to visit Portugal require only a valid passport at present but will need to get the pre-authorisation once ETIAS is implemented in 2021. ETIAS is much the same as Australia’s ETA, which all non-Australian Portuguese citizens travelling to Australia already require. Portuguese nationals who hold an eVisitor-eligible Passport can apply for an eVisitor online for visits up to 3 months for tourism or business purposes.