A source from the SEF told Lusa that there are about 33,000 immigrants who can automatically renew their residence permits.
This measure of automatically renewing residence permits, which last for two years, came about in May 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Following the health emergency resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, it is important to continue to observe measures that increase the effectiveness and efficiency in the document management of requests for granting a residence permit concerning foreign citizens”, says the order published in Diário da República.
The Government justifies the extension of this procedure with the fact that “the reasons that led to the implementation of a simplified procedure for the investigation of applications for granting a residence permit remain valid, given the need to continue to ensure the rapid assessment of applications still pending in SEF”.
According to SEF, in two years, around 200,000 foreigners were able to automatically renew their residence permits, requiring only registration on the SEF website and the document is sent to their home.
In recent days, it has been reported that thousands of immigrants, most of them Brazilians, have been unable to renew their residence permits, which have expired, for some time, thus being unable to leave Portugal and, many, unable to find work or open a bank account.
In a response sent to Lusa, SEF states that the rights of foreign citizens “are safeguarded” in the decree-law approved in March 2020, due to the pandemic, which “ensures the validity of documents and visas relating to stay in national territory until 31 December 2022”.
According to the SEF, these documents “continue to be accepted” after December “as long as the holder proves that they have already scheduled the respective renewal”.
The foreign population residing in Portugal exceeds 800,000 people.