SEF’s task force will regularize thousands of immigrants in Portugal

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Thousands of immigrants waiting in line for regularization of residence in Portugal will finally be able to conclude this long process in the coming weeks. The Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) promises to soon begin a task force to regularize the status of foreigners who requested residence in the country between February 2021 and February 2023. In this period, 174 thousand Brazilians submitted to SEF the request for permission to reside in Portugal, corresponding to 60% of the total 290 thousand requests received by the Portuguese organ.

So that the requests can be analyzed more quickly, the SEF will mobilize a task force through the creation of temporary service stations in the Lisbon region. The units will have extended hours to perform the service, as announced today (17) the Portuguese Foreigners Also confirmed that no exact date has been set for the start of the mutirão, but that it will be “soon”. The locations that will receive the temporary units are also being defined by the Service. The SEF does not have an exact number of how many people will be summoned, only that they are from immigrants who submitted their residence request between February 2021 and February this year.

Convocation in two stages

As already occurs today, immigrants in the queue for the Residence Permit (RA) will be notified by email and also through the SEF portal. The message will include the date, time, and place in which the applicant must appear at the agency’s service station.

The goal is to “quickly recover the pending issues that have become more acute [and increased] in recent years with the exponential increase in demand [for RA in Portugal]. Between 2016 and 2022, approximately 300,000 immigrants obtained Residence Authorization (RA) to live in Portugal. Currently, the country has 700,000 immigrants, more than 200,000 of whom are Brazilians.

The SEF also justifies that the delay in processing RA applications is also due to the closing of service stations during the Covid-19 pandemic. Currently, the average waiting time for obtaining a permit is two years from the date of submission of the application.

During this period, the citizen can live and work in the country, but with certain restrictions. They are not allowed to leave the territory, for example. At the same time, some companies have a policy of only hiring immigrants who already have the document. The absence of the RA can also make it difficult to rent property in the country.

The mutirão is announced amid uncertainty about the future of the SEF, which is to be replaced by an immigration agency. However, the government has not yet informed details on how the service to immigrants will work. O Portugal Pulse asked the office of Parliamentary Affairs, responsible for creating the new body, but did not get a reply.

The SEF also announced, this Friday (17), the simplification of the process for granting Residence Permits for the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP). Citizens with pending processes will be summoned in the coming weeks. At the same time, the SEF will maintain normal service at traditional counters throughout the country.

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