Illegal immigrants: numbers arriving in Portugal skyrocket

The number of immigrants “living in Portugal illegally” has more than doubled between 2017 and 2018.

Just as borders agency SEF reports that it has never had so many foreigners officially registered as residents on its books (click here), the ‘back story’ to last Friday’s report is that it has ‘detected’ a ‘more than 100% increase’ in the number of foreigners present in Portugal ‘in a situation of illegal permanence’.

Writes Público, among citizens “Brazilians were in the majority (13,675), followed by Nepalese (2,881), Indian (2,840), Cape Verdian (1,412) and Bengali (1,185).

Illegal numbers “passed from 13,465 in 2017 to 28,451 last year”, says the paper.

Key however is the word ‘detected’. It suggests there could be more immigrants currently living in Portugal. SEF simply hasn’t (yet) become aware of them.

Público explains that “under the law, illegal permanence constitutes an offence punishable by fines from 80-700 euros”, and there are then other ‘permutations’ of so-called illegal permanence.

SEF thus opened 43,860 cases last year – a 54% increase on the caseload opened the year before.

Over 6000 of the cases referred to foreigners who hadn’t even ‘communicated’ their arrival in this country. Failure to report to the authorities on entering the country – up in numbers by over 87% last year – implies further fines, though there is no suggestion in SEF’s report that any of the immigrants involved face deportation.

The agency did however open 270 cases referring to ‘crimes’ – either as a result of trafficking or other schemes, like ‘marriages of convenience’.

Says Público, 70 people have been charged for alleged ‘marriages of convenience’, 40 for aiding illegal immigration and 35 for falsifying documents.

2018 saw a total of 270 official suspects cited for crimes ‘associated with migration’ – most of them Portuguese (86), followed by Brazilians (63) and Albanians (20).

As for ‘marriages of convenience’, SEF identified an organised criminal network with links to Belgium, Germany, Ireland and Cyprus, which specialised in ‘marrying’ Asian men with Portuguese women (click here).

Also foiled was a group ‘dedicated to helping Brazilian citizens falsify birth certificates to include a Portuguese parent’, and another that specialised in forging the birth certificates of Indians, to show that they qualified for residency permits due to having been born in former Portuguese territories (Goa, Daman and Diu).

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