Government now has until 11 January, 2022 to carry out transfers of attributions in administrative and internal security matters.

The diploma determines that the current administrative attributions of SEF in relation to foreign citizens will from then on be carried out by the Portuguese Agency for Migration and Asylum (APMA) and by the Institute of Registries and Notaries (IRN).

According to the law, the Government must present, within 60 days, the diploma that creates the APMA, an administrative service with specific attributions.

The APMA will have the “mission of implementing public policies on migration and asylum, namely the regularisation of the entry and stay of foreign citizens in national territory, issuing opinions on applications for visas, asylum and refugee settlement”.

The law also establishes that until the entry into force of the diploma creating the APMA “the rules governing SEF's computer and communications systems are maintained in force, including those relating to the National part of the Schengen Information System and others existing in the scope control of the movement of people, its management being ensured by an Information Security Technology unit”.

The diploma also determines the creation, with APMA, of a consultative body on migration and asylum matters, which ensures the representation of government departments and non-governmental organisations, "whose statutory object is primarily intended to defend the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers, for the defense of human rights or the fight against racism and xenophobia, being responsible for issuing opinions, recommendations and suggestions that are submitted to them”.

Transferring responsibilities

The transfer of competences to the IRN, which will also be responsible for foreign citizens holding a residence permit in Portugal and issuing passports, will be defined in a specific diploma to be approved by the Government.

Within the scope of the transfer of police powers, 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 “ensure the carrying out of mobile controls and 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 citizens, in the areas of its jurisdiction”.

The PJ has reserved powers in the investigation of crimes of aid to illegal immigration, association of aid to illegal immigration, human trafficking and others related to these.

This separation of SEF between police functions and administrative functions related to immigrants was foreseen in the Government's programme and was announced by the Minister of Internal Administration after the death of a Ukrainian citizen at SEF premises at Lisbon airport, for which three inspectors were condemned.