New Migration Plan – 10 new rules and main axes of the plan

nacionalidade portuguesa

After being discussed in the Council of Ministers, the government’s new Migration Plan was presented today and, as had been predicted by some commentators and the media, it brings tighter rules.

The Migration Plan is the first document presented by the new government in a context of crisis for AIMA – the new agency for migration and asylum – which has been under the spotlight for the worst reasons.

Delays in asylum applications (more than 400,000 pending), the implementation of controversial measures such as the recent requirement for migrants to pay the amount associated with the Single Collection Document (DUC) in advance within a very tight deadline and, more recently, the announcement of the departure of more than 100 AIMA workers.

On the side of the migrants, some of whom are living in tents outside AIMA in a desperate attempt to resolve their situation, the challenges are diverse. As Diogo Capela, a lawyer specialising in immigration law at LACA, said in a recent interview:

“Immigrants are currently finding it increasingly difficult to set up bank accounts, and there are no appointments available to process their cases, forcing them to spend many months unable to travel while waiting for an appointment to be made, remaining in an irregular situation during the waiting period. The waiting time for residence cards to be issued, depending on where the appointment was made, can also be very long.”

New Migration Plan – New rules

Announced at the Nova Business School campus in Carcavelos, as it is a hub for multiple nationalities and a gateway to Portugal for many foreign students, the long-awaited Migration Plan was developed with the aim of streamlining migration procedures. It is essentially based on three pillars:

  • Regulated emigration with a better functioning state
  • Proactive attraction of foreign talent
  • Integration with humanism

 

The government, represented by the Prime Minister and the Minister for the Presidency, emphasised that immigration is necessary for Portugal, that it is good for the country and that this plan has therefore been developed to combat the problems and challenges that stand in the way of everything going smoothly.

These are some of the measures in the new Migration Plan:

  1. Compulsory Labour Contract – Obligation to present a labour contract at the Consulates of the country of origin in order to enter Portugal
  2. Expression of Interest – End of the Expression of Interest mechanism for future immigrants to obtain a residence permit
  3. CPLP – The CPLP mobility agreement will be strengthened and simplified.
  4. Family integration – Prioritise entry channels for family reunification, young students and qualified professionals
  5. Access to national labor has been granted, allowing employers to prepare the required documents at consular offices to ease job accessibility.
  6. Optimisation of Resources – Reinforcement of Human and Technological Resources, with new computer programmes and more professional training
  7. Linguistic Strengthening – auditing the language assessment processes for obtaining Portuguese nationality
  8. Housing – creating emergency solutions in the main metropolitan areas by making state property available for urgent asylum situations
  9. Police competences – increase the PSP’s response capacity by creating a foreigners and border services unit
  10. AIMA – restructuring and refining the Agency’s responsibilities, reviewing its functions and strengthening human resources (new productivity incentive system)

 

Some of these measures are precisely in line with what we have been identifying as the potential solutions to the problems of immigration and it is important to emphasise that, despite what has been announced, there is no change to ongoing processes. The 41 measures of the new Migration Plan announced can be consulted here.

 

What is the root of the problem – why the new Migration Plan?

The hot topic of migration carries over from the previous government, which was responsible for formalising the controversial change from SEF to AIMA, motivated by the separation of the police forces from the process of receiving and administratively regularising immigrants in Portugal. This change, loved by some and hated by others, was not peaceful and is often accused of having a lack of strategy and poor operational capacity.

AIMA inherited the delays and other problems from SEF, in a context of growing immigration in Portugal and Europe, especially motivated by the worsening of international conflicts, such as the war in Ukraine or the situation in the Gaza Strip.

The latest figures released by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) show a global record in migration flows – “the world saw historic increases in the number of people on the move in 2023 due to climate change, conflicts and major economic disparities”, said the organisation’s director, Amy Pope.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of lawyers if you need any legal support in regularising your situation in Portugal, or if you want to learn more about the new Migration Plan.

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Lamares, Capela & Associados is committed to protecting and respecting your privacy and we will only use your personal information to manage your account and provide the products and services you have requested. Occasionally, we would like to contact you about our products and services and also about other matters that may be of interest to you.

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