Former GNR lieutenant general Luís Botelho Miguel when nominated to national directorship of SEF in December 2020

SEF’s national director resigns

…with little more than month to go before service ‘extinguished’

SEF’s national director Luís Botelho Miguel has put in his resignation, according to a dispatch in the State gazette Diário da Republica.

The news is all the more surprising in that there is little more than a month to go before the service is ‘extinguished’ – not to mention the fact SEF is ‘working overtime’ right now to care and cope with the influx of refugees from Ukraine.

Luís Botelho Miguel has been at his post since December 2020.

He came into the role as a result of the hugely embarrassing ‘scandal’ involving the death of Ukrainian job seeker Ihor Homeniuk.

As SIC television news has explained, when Botelho Miguel was nominated by former minister Eduardo Cabrita, his principal task was to “oversee the extinction of SEF” which was set for January this year.

Due to the pandemic, the date shifted to May – and meantime the minister also resigned himself.

“No one knows the reasons for this resignation”, stresses SIC.

A law passed in parliament in November (when the government was acting in a ‘caretaker capacity’ pre- January’s legislative elections) established that SEF’s extinction would see the entity’s administrative functions – like the issuing of visas/ residencies/ requests for temporary protection – pass to a new institution, APMA – standing for the Portuguese Agency for Migrations and Asylum, and the IRN (notaries and registries institute), while policing capacities would be merged with the nation’s other three police forces: the GNR, PSP and Polícia Judiciária.

The service itself was daunted by the timeline – even the legality of the decision. It will be a huge logistic task to dismantle the service, particularly as it is in the throes of trying to expedite a humanitarian crisis.

More details of what has led to Luís Botelho Miguel’s decision will no doubt emerge over the course of the day/ week.

According to Correio da Manhã, the former GNR lieutenant general would like to leave his post next Wednesday (April 6).

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