The Government's proposal on the restructuring of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) was voted in favour by the PS and by the non-registered deputy Joacine Katar Moreira, abstention by BE and PAN and votes against by PSD, PCP, CDS-PP, Chega, PEV, Liberal Initiative (distance vote by deputy João Cotrim Figueiredo for being in prophylactic isolation) and by the non-registered deputy Cristina Rodrigues.
The bill was approved on the general voting, but it also has to be approved in the next parliament meeting in a special vote.
The Government's bill aims at “reforming the security forces and services that, under the law, carry out the activity of internal security, amending the Internal Security Law, the Criminal Investigation Organization Law and the organic laws of the GNR and PSP”.
This change will mean the transfer of police powers from the SEF to the National Republican Guard (GNR), Public Security Police (PSP) and Judiciary Police (PJ) and, according to the government, makes "the separation between police and administrative functions of authorization and documentation of immigrants” foreseen in the Government's program.
The Government's proposal also defines the attributions in administrative matters, namely the creation of the Foreigners and Asylum Service (SEA), which will have "technical-administrative responsibilities" for monitoring immigrants, and the transfer of competences to the Institute of Registries and Notary (IRN), which will be responsible for the renewal of residence permits.
The bill states that the creation of the SEA, which will replace the SEF in matters of immigration, and the transfer of powers to the IRN will be defined in a specific diploma to be approved by the Government.
However, the other parties also have written bills in this regard.
The BE bill aims to create an Agency for Migration and Asylum, with “the mission of improving the conditions for receiving migrants and asylum seekers, reducing bureaucracy and simplifying access to full citizenship, assuming the performance of administrative functions which are currently assigned to the SEF”.
The PSD project “aims to affirm this criminal police body as a security force, subjecting it at the same time to the duties of the security forces, which necessarily presupposes not only the autonomous regulation of adequate restrictions on the exercise of the rights of the special body, but also a clear separation at the levels of organic and functional attributions between security responsibilities and those of an administrative nature”.
The PSD considers that “functional separation” between police functions and those of an administrative nature “is essential for the proper organization and functioning of the latter as other forces, but should not be an argument for the removal of the police or inspection functions of this important unit of the security system internal".
The project by Chega defended the inclusion of a deputy representing each political party with a parliamentary seat in the superior council for internal security, who should also have as competences “the definition of the main political lines of European security, proposed by Organs community bodies, after preliminary opinion of the SEF”.