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Portugal Immigration News: Restructurings in Immigration Services

portugal immigration news

There is news regarding the Portugal immigration, the Immigration and Borders Services in Portugal (SEF) have undergone several changes and will no longer be responsible for handling migratory issues in Portugal.

On June 2nd, a new Decree-Law No. 41/2023, was published in the Diário da República, introducing a new agency named AIMA (Agência para Integração, Migrações e Asilo), which will be a merger between SEF and ACM (Alto Comissariado para as Migrações), forming a single entity.

Therefore, there will be an organizational separation of powers, with administrative responsibilities being transferred to AIMA and the IRN (Instituto de Registos e Notariado) while law enforcement functions will be assigned to PSP (Public Security Police), GNR (National Republican Guard), and PJ (Judiciary Police).

This restructuring aims to achieve better organization and coordination among the entities involved in immigration and asylum in Portugal. The transfer of administrative competencies to AIMA and IRN seeks a more integrated and comprehensive approach to managing processes related to foreigners while assigning police functions to these security forces recognizing the need to ensure security and compliance with immigration-related laws.

On one hand, GNR will be responsible for the surveillance and management of sea and land borders, including cruise terminals. On the other hand, PSP will assume the functions of surveillance, inspection, and control of border operations at airports. Finally, PJ will maintain its exclusive competence in investigating cases related to illegal immigration and human trafficking.

Services such as granting and issuing electronic Portuguese passports, and issuing and renewing residence permits, which were previously provided by SEF, will now be the responsibility of the IRN.

As for the attributions of the new AIMA agency, the main goal is to promote better integration and adaptation of foreign migrants relocating to Portugal, providing more focused assistance on social issues such as learning the Portuguese language, cultural integration, racism issues, resettlement programs, and the relocation of refugees.

The government aims to create an agency with a comprehensive profile targeting various audiences, whose indirect administration will deal with jurisdiction and services in a decentralized manner, enabling a closer approach to citizens and ensuring timely provision of services.

The mentioned Decree-Law is expected to come into force on October 29, 2023.

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