New model for immigrant family reunification debuts with 500 consultations

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Around 500 people are being assisted across the country today, as part of a new family reunification model for immigrants that is being tested by the Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA).

Registration to deal with bureaucratic issues related to household documentation is done online, through a service portal, but there are also teams across the country providing support to families and identifying children who may not be in school, AIMA’s president, Luís Goes, explained to journalists.

The greatest demand came from the Brazilian community. “These are people who are in Portugal with a residence permit and who have minor children,” he said, indicating that around 2,000 applications have been sent online.

Even if the pretext is the child, AIMA is dealing with cases en bloc, and is also accepting requests to deal with cases involving other family members, such as grandparents who are dependent, he added.

“We’re testing the model, the orders come in online, they’re paid for and, when everything’s fine, they’re called and the service is faster,” he said.

Today, the first face-to-face consultations are taking place with people who have used the portal.

Joana and Adriano came to Setúbal from Brazil to work in the food and catering industry over a year ago. They had to pay someone to call the services so they could process their older children. Today they used the service scheduled through the portal to include their youngest son, aged eight.

“It was complicated, because they wouldn’t answer the phone. We only got a place in Bragança, it was the only place where there were vacancies and we had to travel there. Now, with the portal, it was very quick,” Joana told Lusa.

Deputy Minister Ana Catarina Mendes, who visited the service today, described the bureaucratic procedure to which immigrants were subjected as “horrifying”.

“After a hundred days of AIMA, there are now new procedures for welcoming these people who arrive here,” he told journalists, stressing: “Today we have an increasingly global world (…) the bureaucracy was an absolutely horrifying process for the people who arrived here and who spent years unable to deal with their cases.”

In the service area, Ana Catarina Mendes had the opportunity to speak to a scientist from Pakistan, accompanied by her eight-year-old daughter.

His father, Muhammad Rathod, has a startup that he wants to develop in Portugal and hire Portuguese people. He speaks English, but little Ajwa speaks Portuguese correctly. At the age of eight, she already knows she wants to be a math teacher.

“There are people arriving here with a very high level of qualification (…) and that says a lot about the profile of immigration that also arrives in Portugal today. If there are problems, it’s true that there are and we have to respond to them, but it’s no less true that today there is a high level of development and qualifications that allow us to help each other as a country,” said the minister.

The president of AIMA admitted that more service desks are needed and should open this year, especially in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area.

Iris Lavan
Iris Lavan
With a background as a consultant in the medical industry, Iris Lavan brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Portugal Pulse. Iris also runs a company in Tel Aviv offering marketing, business development, content creation and public relations services. She holds a degree in economics and management, giving her a solid grounding in business strategy and financial planning. Iris' commitment to Portugal Pulse is reflected not only in her consulting career, but also in her impact on the Portugale media landscape in Israel. She was an interviewer for Hadshot Portugal חדשות פורטוגל, a media outlet that broadcasts news about Portugal in Hebrew, where she provided valuable information on current affairs, healthcare and the economy. Since July 2023, Iris has also been part of the Portugal Pulse team.

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