The extinction of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) in Portugal has been postponed once again, without a particular extinction date set. SEF was set to be extinct on May 12 and be replaced by the Portuguese Agency of Migration and Asylum (APMA).
The Minister of Internal Administration, José Luís Carneiro stated the “transition should occur in a tranquil and safe manner” and that this transition is not yet ready. He also guaranteed that the fundamental rights of the workers at SEF will be safeguarded during the transition.
“We are working with the different ministries to make sure that this institutional transformation occurs with serenity, stability, and trust and in a condition that guarantees that the functions of security, that are paramount functions of the state continue to be safeguarded”, said Carneiro in Portalegre. The Minister went on to say that in the next few days a “legislative solution” regarding the APMA may be found.
The APMA which will replace SEF will take care of issues of requests for visas, asylum, and aiding refugees, as well as studying, promoting, and executing measures relating to migratory movements and politics The “policing” aspect of SEF is set to be given to law enforcement agencies such as PSP and GNR, while SEF will remain its administrative roles. SEF will no longer enforce border control, as well as deal with issues of illegal immigration and human trafficking. These will be left to the police.
The President of the Union that represents SEF workers, Acácio Pereira has said postponing the extinction of SEF is the right move as this is a “complex process”. He says that not all the rights of workers have been considered at this point in the process.
The current workers at SEF are given the chance to transition to APMA, if they wish. There are over 1,666 workers at SEF, 1,049 of which are inspectors.