July 10, 2024

Urgent Measures to Address Migration Challenges in Portugal


The Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA) in Portugal has announced a number of urgent measures in order to address migratory concerns that have occurred due to the transition from Serviço de Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF) to AIMA.


What has changed?

At the end of 2023, the Servico de Estrangeiros e Fronteriras (SEF) was abolished by the Portuguese authorities. It has been replaced by the Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA Portugal). The original SEF acted as both an immigration administration agency and borders service. Going forwards, AIMA Portugal will focus solely on the administrative side, issuing documents and promoting immigrant integration, while border control duties have transferred to police forces. AIMA is tasked with managing matter relating to foreign documents, residence permits, and visa renewals in Portugal.

The new urgent measures will:

  • End the regime that allowed immigrants to regularise themselves in Portugal, through the legal form of “demonstrations of interest”

- Non-EU citizens will no longer be permitted to migrate to Portugal without an employment contract

  • Create a mission structure to regularise pending processes, estimated at 400 thousand.

Who is affected?

  • Foreigners that are in Portugal under the exceptional regimen “Manifestations of Interest”.
  • Files currently under review

What to expect /impact?

AIMA aims to offer a more streamlined immigration system for residents, family reunification and foreign nationals seeking immigration and address a large backlog of pending applications for immigration applications and visa renewals. However, the following should also be noted:

    • During the transition period, some delays may be expected.
    • It will no longer be possible for a foreigner with a tourist visa to regularise their status in Portugal, requiring an employment contract or another solution previously dealt with in the Portuguese consular network.
    • Ongoing processes will not be affected as long as they meet the legal requirements

What you need to do

For further information on Portugal, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at immigration@sterlinglexicon.com


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over fifteen years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends, and currently serves as a member of the Worldwide ERC (WERC) Immigration Advisory Council.

Related Posts