Changes to SEF
What is changing?
In early June, a law was enacted which will change the structure of the Portuguese border control system. Currently, the Portuguese border is controlled by the Immigration and Border Service (SEF). SEF will be succeeded by the Agency for Immigration, Migration and Asylum, I.P. (AIMA, I.P.). AIMA, I.P. will merge SEF and the Office of the High Commissioner for Migration (ACM). This newly merged entity will act as a single administrative body charged with implementing both national and European policies on migration and asylum. AIMA, I.P. will deal with all policies that concern entry and stay, as well as reception and integration of foreign citizens. The stated goal of this merge is to make the system more efficient and resistant to future migratory and humanitarian crises.
How will this impact migration processes?
We’re not sure yet. We are likely to see some changes to the way the system processes applications, but until the new system is up and running, we can’t know. As of now, the system remains the same for open cases.
2022 Migration Trends in Portugal
At the end of June, SEF released new data on migration to Portugal from 2022. Notable reflections from the data are below.
Migration to Portugal continues to steadily increase
Per the report, the number of foreign residents living in Portugal increased by nearly 12% between 2021 and 2022, growing from 698,887 to 781,915 foreign residents. This data is also significant in that in the past 6 years, the number of foreign residents living in Portugal has almost doubled. The data show a consistent increase, even throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.