On June 3rd, 2024, the Government announced significant changes to Portugal’s immigration policies. The goal of these new measures is to enhance the regulation, integration, and overall management of immigration within the country.

Here are the 41 concrete measures announced by the government of Prime Minister Luís Montenegro:

01. Terminate the Expression of Interest procedure (regularization process for applicants without a residence visa), implementing a transitional period;

02. Strengthen response and processing capacity at the main Consulates, considering work force attraction and seasonal migration;

03. Prioritize entry channels for family reunification, young students and qualified professionals as well as streamline procedures for granting visas and residence permits to national citizens of CPLP (Portuguese speaking) countries;

04. Create Structure of Mission (task force) to resolve the +400 thousand pending processes, divided into 4 stages: hiring, training, online analysis and in person conclusion of the processes, using facilities other than the ones allocated to the Immigration Office;

05. Urgently intervene in existing border control infrastructures, IT systems and borders databases (investment and maintenance);

06. Catch up on the delay in implementing new systems entry and exit border control (smart borders) – EES (Entry/Exit System) and the European Travel Information and Authorization System – ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorization System) which must be operational and validated in the summer of 2024, for full operation in October 2024, of the EES system and in the subsequent 6 months, of the ETIAS system;

07. Mitigate the high levels of congestion and delays that occur at the borders of Lisbon and Faro airports;

08. Strengthen the operational framework of the CPLP Mobility Agreement – Promote access to the Schengen Area, extension of expired residence permits, improve monitoring of the responsibility terms presented and streamline procedures relating to appointments for submitting visa applications;

09. Confirm and execute commitments to resettle and relocate beneficiaries and applicants for international protection status;

10. Develop and implement the National Plan for the Implementation of the European Union Migration and Asylum Pact;

11. Increase the capacity of Spaces Equivalent to Temporary Installation Centers;

12. Build new Temporary Installation Centers, ensuring legal and civil society support;

13. Establish procedural speed mechanisms to be applied in judicial appeals processes of immigration and asylum as well as on processes for assessing the regularity of entry and stay;

14. Ensure the efficiency, humanity and effectiveness of the return system, unifying these skills across police forces;

15. Create a multi-force inspection team to combat abuses (human trafficking, illegal immigration, labor exploitation and human rights violations;

16. Audit the linguistic training and evaluation processes regarding Portuguese language for obtaining Portuguese citizenship;

17. Establish a human capital attraction system aligned with the country’s needs;

18. Improve the process of recognizing qualifications and competencies;

19. Promote professional training and qualification of foreign citizens, in and out of the Portuguese territory with local entities support;

20. Carry out a Labor Needs Survey, aligning the supply and demand of foreign workers and their scheduled reception;

21. Promote the attraction and attendance of foreign students in Portuguese Higher Education Institutions through the increase of scholarships; incentive for Higher Education Institutions to implement recruitment and integration strategies; offering scholarships and cultural and artistic training residencies to students under the supervision of the Ministry of Culture;

22. Increase places for asylum seekers and refugees in reception centers:

23. Increase the capacity of specialized Residential Units for emergency reception of unaccompanied minors;

24. Increase temporary and urgent accommodation capacity for immigrants, refugees and beneficiaries of international protection;

25. Promote the professional integration of immigrants into the national labour market;

26. Create Municipal/Intermunicipal Emergency Reception Centers for immigrants, in cooperation with Municipalities;

27. Implement integration projects in very critical neighborhoods under municipal coordination;

28. Strengthen supply, coverage and frequency of teaching Portuguese as a Non-Mother Language:

29. Make multilingual materials and guidelines available, including in functional Portuguese;

30. Simplify the process of granting equivalences in basic education;

31. Promote and manage immigrants’ access to the National Health Service;

32. Create instruments for channeling private capital for social investment in immigrant integration projects;

33. Create the Foreigners and Borders Unit at PSP (Public Police Force);

34. Restructuring of AIMA’s competencies and internal organization:

35. Strengthen AIMA’s human and technological resources, creating an incentive for productivity and performance, guarantying the quality control;

36. Transfer the responsibility for in-person service residence renewal permits from IRN (Notary and Registries Office) to AIMA;

37. Expansion of the in-person service available for immigrants to request their sectoral identifiers numbers (NIF, NISS, NNU);

38. Restore the Migration Observatory as a State body to inform public policy:

39. Redefine and make the Council for Migration and Asylum autonomous, as a consultative body to the Government;

40. Strengthen financial support for immigrant and civil society associations operating in the sector;

41. Strengthen proximity responses through Local Support Centers for Migrant Integration.

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