Brazilian students in Portugal report problems to renew residence permit – 25/11/2021 – World

Brazilian students have reported problems renewing their residence permits in Portugal. Difficulties with the system, which should guarantee automatic renewal for those enrolled in higher education, can leave students without a valid identification document in the European country.

A doctoral student at the University of Coimbra, Rodrigo Monteiro de Carvalho is one of those affected. He is in Brazil for a season of research data collection and has been trying for more than two months, without success, to renew his residence permit. Now, he says he will have to bring forward the return to Portugal, but he fears there will be problems in this process — especially if he takes a connecting flight, when the passage through immigration takes place in another European Union country.

“I intended to stay a little longer in Brazil to spend Christmas with my family, but I’ll be back sooner. I want to be in Portugal before my document expires, at the end of December,” he says.

As other people report difficulties with the automatic renewal system, the International Students collective in Portugal has collected and publicized part of the complaints. “The complaints started in September, but isolated. In the last two weeks, they started to multiply”, explains Caroline Napolitano, one of the representatives of the collective.

One of the affected students created a group to bring together students who face the same situation. Among the most frequent reports are errors when submitting the form and the impossibility of accessing the step-by-step instructions on the website.

In addition to possible limitations on circulation, especially for trips to Brazil and other European countries, many are afraid of losing their job, as their employers have already stated that maintaining valid documentation is essential for the continuity of the professional relationship.

President of Casa do Brasil in Lisbon, an NGO that provides assistance to the immigrant community in Portugal, psychologist Cyntia de Paula also claims to have received many complaints about problems with the system and classified the situation as chaotic. “We are concerned, as there are many people in this situation, especially higher education students”, he says.

The automatic renewal of residence permits was implemented in mid-2020, as a way to alleviate the chronically overloaded service stations of the SEF (Foreigners and Borders Service), the agency responsible for immigration in the country. Upon announcing the measure, the organization stated that at least 250,000 people would benefit.

Higher education students are among the categories eligible for automatic issuance. Every three months, the SEF grants access to the benefit to immigrants whose documents are approaching the end of their expiration date; once eligible, foreigners can renew online.

“Afterwards, the Service will carry out all security queries to confirm the suitability of the applicant, as well as consultations with the necessary databases to assess the applicant’s compliance with its tax and social security obligations. After paying the fees. , the citizen will receive the Residence Permit at his tax address”, explains the entity.

For more than a year, the system was highly praised by immigrants, who stopped facing marathons to be able to schedule a time to do the procedure in person.

Asked about the problem by sheet, the SEF did not manifest itself until the publication of this report.

The reports of difficulty come at a particularly delicate moment for the entity, which has already had its extinction approved by Parliament. The SEF’s responsibilities will be divided: the police part will be incorporated into other security forces, and the assistance and documentation services will be transferred to the Registry and Notary Institute and to the future Portuguese Agency for Migration and Asylum.

Although the end of the SEF should happen in January, this could be postponed to mid-2022. Prime Minister António Costa’s Socialist Party, this week, handed in a bill to postpone the organ’s extinction by six months. The request was motivated by the evolution of the pandemic situation in Europe and the possible need to tighten controls at Portuguese borders.

Although there was no manifestation by the entity about the problem with the renovations, the students believe they have found some clues about the affected groups. When crossing student complaints, the International Students collective found some patterns. They identified that the issue mainly affects those who had already done the automatic renewal of the document in 2020.

“When we started to investigate with students from our profile and from other groups, we saw that this problem [com quem já renovara automaticamente em 2020] it was repeating itself in every case,” says Caroline.

According to her, many of the students received information from the SEF that it was an error in the computer system that had not yet been resolved. “The issue affected several people with tickets purchased or at risk of having problems with their employment contract. We started to openly show our profile, and the repercussion was high.” The report counted about 50 reports.

This Wednesday (24), the SEF announced the release of over 7,000 service positions. Students, however, are not eligible for these appointments.

In practice, with the creation of the possibility of automatic renewal, vacancies for face-to-face assistance for this service were drastically reduced. A student stated on social networks that he called SEF’s phones more than 70 times trying to make an appointment, but he didn’t have a return.

Brazilians form the largest community of international students in Portuguese universities, with more than 20 thousand students between undergraduate and graduate.


The article from the source


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