New Immigration Laws Aim to Streamline Processes for Family Reunification in Portugal


Family reunification requests will be facilitated, as the Portuguese government has approved new regulations regarding the entry, stay, exit, and removal of foreign citizens in the country in an effort to enhance the efficiency and accessibility of immigration processes.

The revamped laws, which include alterations to the Regulatory Decree of the Foreignersโ€™ Law, align with the restructuring of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF). The initiative is part of a broader effort to adapt to evolving needs and improve security requirements in immigration-related matters, reports.

The Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA) has been at the forefront of implementing these changes. According to AIMA, the institutionโ€™s digital services portal will soon be launched, allowing for smoother residence permit applications for family reunification. This digital platform is expected to smooth processes and enhance overall security measures in line with immigration services.

In the days following the entry into force of this normative instrument, there will be news on this matter.

The Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA)

Established on October 29, 2023, AIMA has inherited a substantial workload, with 347,000 cases to date. The agencyโ€™s primary objective is to regularise family reunification cases by the end of the year, a task that has yet to be done.

According to Ana Catarina Mendes, the minister responsible for AIMA, the agency is committed not only to improving its technological service but also to responding more easily to the needs of citizens.

Issues of family reunification are absolutely essential.

Ana Catarina Mendes, the minister responsible for AIMA.

To meet these objectives, AIMA works with municipalities and local immigrant support offices in the first three months of the year. The new changes aim to resolve pending immigration processes in addition to allocating more resources to address existing cases. The mission is to create a better and more responsive immigration system that aligns with contemporary requirements and ensures the prompt reunification of families.

According to a report by the OECD, Portugal received 80,000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status and free mobility) in 2020, which is 18.6 per cent less than in the previous year.

In addition, 19 per cent of immigrants were benefitting from free mobility, 40.7 per cent moved for economic reasons, and 35.1 per cent had family reunification purposes (including accompanying family).

Around 12,000 permits were issued to international students at higher levels of education. In addition, 29,000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2020, around 42 per cent less than in 2019. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.


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