If on the first day the portal for automatically processing residence permits received almost 10,000 requests, by 12:30 pm on Tuesday, 27,000 requests had already been made. The information was given by the Deputy Minister of Parliamentary Affairs at the hearing at the Committee on Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees.
The measure is intended to speed up the regularization of around 150,000 immigrants from Portuguese-speaking countries in Portugal with pending cases at the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) and to facilitate mobility “between sister countries”, recalled Ana Catarina Mendes. That, regarding the SEF, he reiterated that the final diploma on restructuring will be approved at the April 6 Council of Ministers “so that this reform can be in force in the summer”.
This diploma will provide for the merger of the High Commission for Migration into the new Portuguese Agency for Migration and Asylum (APMA), which will also receive SEF general career workers, while inspectors will pass to the police forces. “We want the APMA to be the beginning of a new page of reception and integration of refugees and migrants in Portugal”, stressed the minister, in which the new entity that will deal with “administrative and documentary issues to reception and integration”.
The country, he added, is no longer “just a country of emigrants, it has become a country of immigration, synonymous with the improvement of their living conditions, and it is important that migration policies adapt to this change”.
Prior to this merging of the High Commission into the APMA, the Commission for Equality and Against Racial Discrimination will be made autonomous from the former. And, as PÚBLICO reported, the new Racism and Xenophobia Observatory, whose protocol is signed on Friday, the 17th, will be coordinated by Teresa Pizarro Beleza, a researcher at the Centro Antígona at Universidade Nova.
Ana Catarina Mendes stressed that Portugal received, in 2022, more than 58 thousand migrants, which represents 14 times the number of people that the country received between 2015 and 2021. These are only citizens who seek the country with refugee status, such as Afghans and Ukrainians. But cases like those of the Timorese whose situation was in the news in October last year because they were living on the street are also included. Ana Catarina Mendes said that 1112 Timorese citizens have already been relocated and 252 have been integrated into the job market. “They are citizens in an extremely vulnerable situation, who have been deceived by trafficking networks.”
In response to the PS, the minister defended that prevention and education work from a very early age is essential and to increase dissemination campaigns on equality between men and women in all facets of society. And he added that he envisages that sex education in schools will cover, in the 2024/25 school year, all students from pre-school to 12th grade. year.