The Portuguese government has announced its decision to phase out the Immigration and Border Protection (SEF) by October this year. What to expect next?
The SEF, Portugal’s immigration, border control and asylum agency, has come under fire in recent years over concerns raised about its effectiveness, transparency and alleged misconduct by its officials. Therefore, the government was soon forced to phase out the SEF in order to address these issues and create a more modern, flexible and accountable immigration system.
The liquidation process will include the transfer of responsibility of the SEF to other relevant organizations. Border control and security functions will be transferred to the National Republican Guard (GNR), while tasks related to immigration will be entrusted to the Foreigners and Border Guards Service (SEF) and the Portuguese Immigration and Foreigners Service (SEFIR). It is expected that the division of responsibilities will make the management of immigration matters more efficient.
The government’s decision to dissolve the SEF was met with controversy. Proponents argue that the move represents a much-needed overhaul of the country’s immigration system for greater efficiency and accountability. And through restructuring, will lead to a more transparent and flexible approach that addresses the shortcomings identified in the previous system.
However, some have raised concerns about potential disruptions to the transition and the need for comprehensive planning to ensure a smooth transition.
The Government, on the other hand, reaffirmed its commitment to responsible transition management and maintaining the necessary experience in the relevant organizations. Comprehensive training programs and knowledge transfer initiatives will be implemented to minimize any potential knowledge gaps and ensure service continuity.
The phasing out of the SEF also provides an opportunity to strengthen cooperation and information sharing with international partners, especially in the European Union. Portugal aims to bring its immigration system in line with best practices and ensure smooth cooperation in areas such as border control, asylum procedures and the management of migration flows.
As October approaches, the Portuguese government will work closely with the SEF, GNR, SEFIR and other stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition. Efforts will be made to minimize any potential disruption to ongoing immigration processes, as well as to address the concerns of SEF staff affected by the restructuring.
The phased dissolution of the SEF is a huge step towards a more streamlined and efficient immigration system in Portugal. Increased transparency, accountability and coordination within the immigration system will create a fair and efficient system that addresses the growing challenges of migration and border control in the 21st century.