‘Seamless changeover’ in government departments hits brick wall
The much-touted moment when responsibilities of SEF (the now extinct borders and aliens service) transported themselves to IRN, the institute of registries and notaries, has resulted in chaos: the issuing of passports/ processing of residency authorisations have all come to a screeching halt.
Syndicates complain it was as if they were “promised Ferraris, but given scrap metal”.
Indeed, they stress they have not even received any special training for their new ‘competences’, and they are still labouring with a lack of staff.
“Problems began to occur from last Thursday afternoon”, Arménio Maximino of the platform of unions for registries told Rádio Renascença this morning. (SEF’s responsibilities for issuing passports/ residency authorisation transferred to IRN only days before).
Since last Thursday, it hasn’t been possible to deliver or request passports. “There is a problem with the application and the system is still inoperable”, said Maximino. “This means we cannot do anything. Even the machines that collect biometric data cannot be transmitted to the back office.”
In Maximino’s opinion, the government “announced measures for citizens that cannot be implemented”.
Considering the pressure on Portugal’s government right now, this will be the least of its problems, but for citizens caught up in this confusion it can be a nightmare of bureaucratic limbo, preventing access to vital services.
As Maximino explains, there are also problems with the issuing of residence permit renewals: Last week it was suggested that people make an appointment and then be seen as soon as the new platform was up and running; now, it is not even possible to make an appointment.The information IRN has is that 35,000 bookings have been made”, while many others will have been thwarted.
Contacted by RR for a comment, the Justice Ministry responded: “There are no delays or constraints in issuing the Portuguese Electronic Passport, and there may only be occasional situations as a result of the services adapting to the change of systems to the Institute of Registry and Notary Services.”