The Decree-Law no. 62/2018, of August 6, which amended the legal regime of the International Student statute, created the legal framework for the admission of students in a humanitarian emergency to higher education institutions, preserving that these students are guaranteed full access to social grants, including scholarships, and their exceptional equality to national students’ status for the purpose of tuition fees payment, fees, and emoluments.
For this legal diploma, students in an emergency situation due to humanitarian reasons are those coming from countries or regions where it is currently prevailing a recognized condition of armed conflict, natural disaster, generalized violence, or human rights violation, thus resulting in the need for humanitarian response.
These students are admitted through a special public tender for international students organized by each higher education institution, with specific rules designed to recognize and acknowledge the academic career path already obtained in the country of origin. After admission, higher education institutions can credit the education or training carried out within the scope of other cycles of higher education studies that may or may not award a degree, the education/training obtained within the framework of the Bologna Process, or the one obtained previously by the limits imposed by national Law.
According to Articles 44 to 45b of Decree-Law No. 74/2006 of March 24, the admitted students are part of the study programs of the higher education institution where there are enrolled. Therefore, all the admitted students will integrate the present semester into the curricular year according to the accreditation provided by the foreign higher education. If these students cannot prove their qualifications with documents, the higher education institutions may carry out alternative procedures.
In addition to this Decree-Law No. 74/2006 of March 24, students also may enroll in single curricular units available in the higher education institution. Anyone is eligible to apply for the student statute of the emergency situation due to humanitarian reasons anyone if in one of the following situations:
a) Benefit from the refugee status referred to in Law no. 27/2008, of June 30, in its current phrasing
b) Benefit from the subsidiary international protection statute referred to in Law no. 27/2008, of June 30, in its current phrasing
c) Comes from countries or regions to which the High Commissioner for Refugees of the United Nations or the International Organization for Migration have declared the existence of an emergency situation that requires a humanitarian response
d) Holders of the temporary residence permit referred to in article no. 27 of Law no. 27/2008, of June 30, in its current phrasing
e) Holders of a residence permit granted to anyone who is or has been a victim of criminal offenses linked to human trafficking or for aiding illegal immigration, as referred to in article no. 109 of Law no. 23/2007, of July 4, in its current phrasing
The request to apply for the student statute of emergency situation due to humanitarian reasons is submitted directly to the higher education institution and must be attached by documentation issued by the Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (Portuguese Immigration and Border Service – SEF), the High Commissioner for Refugees of the United Nations or the International Organization for Migration, proving that the student is in one of the aforementioned situations.
It is also foreseen the possibility of applying by each of the higher education institutions, alternative procedures to verify admission conditions to students in an emergency situation due to humanitarian reasons when their qualifications cannot be documented.
Another alternative for accessing higher education is through the course change regime, regulated by Ordinance No. 181-D/2015, of June 19.