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Government Ends Easy Immigration Rules

The government has ended the special system that lets foreigners enter Portugal and apply for a residence permit afterward. They also announced the creation of a special team to handle about 400,000 pending cases.

Immigration Rules are Being Toughened Up

End of Exceptional Entry Regime

The government has ended the special system that allowed foreigners to enter Portugal and then apply for a residence permit. They announced the creation of a mission structure to handle about 400,000 pending cases.

Action Plan for Migration

The Action Plan for Migration, approved on Monday, includes ending the exceptional regime that allowed entry without strict rules. This change will eliminate the "expressions of interest" procedure, which was a significant cause of the backlog.

New Requirements for Legalization

Foreigners with a tourist visa can no longer apply for legalization in Portugal. They need an employment contract or another pre-arranged solution through the Portuguese consular network.

Strengthening Consular Services

The plan aims to strengthen consular services in priority countries by adding 45 staff members in 15 countries, including all Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP).

Repeal of Articles 88 and 89

Articles 88 and 89 of the Foreigners’ Law, which allowed foreign tourists to be legalized in Portugal, will be repealed. A review of the general law by parliament will follow in the coming months.

Processing Existing Applications

All existing applications will still be processed, provided they are correctly filled in or have more than one year of social security contributions.

Streamlining Immigration Channels

The plan includes prioritizing immigration channels for family reunification, young students, qualified professionals, and nationals of CPLP countries.

Renewing Expiring Documents

The government is committed to renewing expiring documents this month and streamlining procedures for granting visas and resident permits to other Portuguese-speaking citizens.

Creation of a Mission Structure

The approved plan includes creating a mission structure with additional human, material, and financial resources. This will involve hiring new staff, including officials from the Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA) and inspectors from the former SEF.

Addressing Backlogs

This mission structure will be responsible for quickly assessing requests and improving face-to-face services to resolve existing backlogs.

Urgent Infrastructure Upgrades

The plan also calls for urgent improvements to border control infrastructures, IT systems, and databases, addressing delays in implementing new border control systems ("smart borders").

Attracting Human Capital

Finally, the plan includes a system for attracting human capital, collaborating with business confederations and associations to bring in workers needed for the Portuguese economy, without introducing any quota policies.

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