Refugee status

Dear Editor,

I cannot be the only person who heard that one of the suspected terrorists plotting a new attack in France appears to have applied – and succeeded in receiving – political refugee status in Portugal.

According to what I heard over the news, this young Moroccan was awarded his residency, and a subsequent Portuguese driving licence, more than two years ago. That would have made him 24 when someone at SEF considered him as filling all the requisites of a political refugee.

Now, as a mother of fairly typical 20-somethings, I find that very difficult to believe. How could a 24-year-old from Morocco comply with this kind of ‘refugee status’? It suggests there is something very wrong in the system, and that leaves us realising how incredibly vulnerable Europe remains.

I have sat in SEF waiting interminable lengths of time for ludicrous minutiae to be ‘registered’ and, I have to say, I have not been impressed. The last visit was to pick up a residency card with a new address. The address had an error in it, but the man handing me my card asked me “please accept it, as we are very short staffed”.

He had the child of a Brazilian residency applicant actually sitting on his lap at the time due to the lack of available chairs.

I love this country with a passion, but our security system is a shambles.

Fiona Shackleton
By email