The proposal by the PS and the Left Bloc on the extinction of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) has been approved by the parliamentary committee on Constitutional Affairs, Rights, Freedoms and Guarantees.
The proposal to change the PS and BE to the Government's initiative includes the creation of the Portuguese Agency for Migration and Asylum (APMS) and the transfer of police powers from the SEF to the PSP, GNR and Judiciary Police.
The text establishes that “the transition of personnel from the investigation and inspection career to other entities must take into account the functional content and nature of the functions previously performed by the employee in the last three years”.
The proposal also determines that the transition of SEF inspectors to PSP, GNR and PJ "cannot imply the reduction of the respective category, seniority and remuneration index, being assured the counting of all the time of service provided in the SEF, namely for the purposes of promotion, availability and retirement”.
The law indicates that the current administrative duties of the SEF in relation to foreign citizens are now carried out by the APMA and by the Institute of Registries and Notaries.
The APMA will have the “mission of implementing public policies on migration and asylum, namely the regularization of the entry and stay of foreign citizens in national territory, issuing opinions on applications for visas, asylum and refugee settlement, thus how to participate in the execution of the Portuguese State's international cooperation policy in the field of migration and asylum”.
As for the transfer of SEF's police powers to the Republican National Guard (GNR), Public Security Police (PSP) and Judiciary Police (PJ), it generally maintains what was foreseen in the Government's proposal.
The GNR will be responsible for "overseeing, inspecting and controlling the maritime and land borders", "acting in the context of coercive removal proceedings and the judicial expulsion of foreign citizens, in the areas of its jurisdiction" and "ensuring the implementation of mobile and of joint operations with national security forces and services and Spanish counterparts”.
In turn, the PSP will integrate the competences of “overseeing, inspecting and controlling airport borders and cruise terminals” and “acting within the scope of coercive removal processes and judicial expulsion of foreign nationals, in the areas of its jurisdiction”.
“The investigation of crimes of aid to illegal immigration, association of aid to illegal immigration, human trafficking and other related crimes” will be transferred to the “reserved competence” of the Judiciary Police.
The allocation of SEF officers between police functions and administrative functions related to immigrants was foreseen in the Government's program and was announced by the Minister of Internal Administration after the death of a Ukrainian citizen at the SEF premises at Lisbon airport, for which three inspectors were condemned.
The restructuring has been strongly contested by the SEF inspectors and employees unions, as well as by some political parties, namely the CDS and the PSD.