Brazilians in Portugal say they’ve been duped by the new residence permit

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The CPLP document guarantees rights on Portuguese territory, but does not guarantee the circulation of tourists in Europe.

Unlike the classic document, the new residence permit for citizens of the Community of Portuguese-speaking Countries in Portugal, which has already been applied for by 100,000 Brazilians, does not guarantee the free movement of tourists within the Schengen area, which comprises 28 European countries. A restrição, que só foi informada mais de dois meses após o lançamento da modalidade, surpreendeu muitos dos imigrantes que aderiram ao novo modelo. Dos mais de 131 mil pedidos já realizados, cerca de 108,4 mil (82,8%), foram de brasileiros.

On Portuguese territory, the CPLP residence permit guarantees automatic regularization and officially confers all rights on immigrants. To obtain it, however, foreigners are obliged to cancel the first stage of the application for regularization by conventional means – the so-called expression of interest, which gives access to the residence permit recognized by other European migration authorities.

On social networks and in immigrant aid associations, there are several reports of people feeling cheated by the new document.

Hairdresser Jéssica Torres, who has been in Portugal for around two years, says she didn’t think twice about signing up for automatic regularization via the CPLP procedure.

Like many Brazilians, she arrived in the European country as a tourist, but stayed to live and work, even though she didn’t have the necessary authorization.

“I had already made a declaration of interest a long time ago, but it still hadn’t been approved, there were no forecasts. I felt very bad, I was very anxious, not to mention the bureaucratic difficulties,” she recounts.

“When I saw that it was possible to stay legally in the country automatically, I wanted to do it right away.

Now that I know I can’t even take advantage of it to travel after spending so much time working, I don’t think it was worth it. If I’d known beforehand, I don’t know if I’d have asked.

In a press release, the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF), responsible for immigration in Portugal, stated that, although the right to travel within the Schengen area is not guaranteed by the new residence, Brazilians can still travel for tourism in the countries that make up the common circulation area – a statement that highlights the lack of clarity of the new permits.

Citing European resolutions that waive short-term tourist visas, the SEF stated that “Brazilian citizens can travel as tourists, provided that their stay on Schengen territory does not exceed 90 days within a 180-day period”.

Many lawyers and immigrant aid organizations disagree with this interpretation, due to the difficulty of proving time limits to migration authorities in other countries.

Brazilians have their passports stamped with the date of arrival in the first country in the Common Travel Area.

Since residence in the CPLP is not recognized by other member states, and passport registration may have exceeded 180 days, there is a risk of problems.

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