Fault in the SEF system gives automatic residence permits to foreigners with a criminal record and serving a sentence

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SEF – Foreigners and Borders Service – has granted automatic residence permits to CPLP (Community of Portuguese Language Countries) citizens with a criminal record, some of whom are still serving time – according to the magazine ‘Sábado’, there are “confirmed situations of issue of CPLP Certificate to citizens of Brazilian nationality with Portuguese criminal record and even two of the situations reported in which they are in a situation of effective imprisonment in prison and domiciliary establishment,” could be read in an internal communication from the regional directorate of Lisbon to the national director of SEF, Fernando Silva.

A glitch in the system will have allowed the authorizations without previously having a cross with criminal records: one of the cases, found the monthly magazine, was Cristian P, a Brazilian citizen who in 2019 killed a man stabbed in a restaurant in Setubal. There is also the situation of Vicente F, “detained preventively and is permanently in the housing with the use of electronic surveillance”.

According to an official source from SEF, automatic residence permits have already been cancelled “immediately”. The system, launched last March, allows immigrants from Portuguese-speaking countries with processes pending until the end of 2022 to obtain a residence permit automatically – without the need to go to a SEF office.

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