The president of Turismo do Algarve has called for extra staff at border control to avoid bottlenecks while expressing concern about the transition of competences of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) to other forces.
Last weekend there were long lines of tourists at Faro airport, especially from the United Kingdom, a situation that had already previously occurred in October and which has now worsened due to the large influx of people, not only due to school holidays in the UK, but also due to the start of international sporting events taking place in the region.
“It is important to ensure an effective transition and provide the security forces with adequate means”, said João Fernandes, noting that there is “a special opportunity” to strengthen the forces that will control the Algarve borders with the training course for inspectors that is currently underway.
Despite this being the low season, Faro airport has registered long queues due to the high number of flights and passengers landing in the Algarve almost simultaneously, the vast majority from outside the Schengen area and especially British, who are subject to passport control.
“It is important that the forces that are now taking on new competencies have the right resources. However, as both the PSP and the GNR are deficient in terms of human resources and, assuming new skills, they naturally need a period of adaptation and learning, it is very important that there is a detailed plan for the transition, but also the reinforcement of human resources”, argued João Fernandes.
The extinction of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) was approved in the Assembly of the Republic on 22 October, and the proposal agreed between the PS and BE determines that the police powers of the SEF pass to the PSP, GNR and Judiciary Police.
According to the proposal, the current attributions in administrative matters regarding foreign citizens are now carried out by a new entity – the Portuguese Agency for Migration and Asylum (APMA) – and by the Institute of Registries and Notaries.
With the change, the GNR will be responsible for controlling the maritime and land borders and the PSP the airport borders and cruise terminals.
The PJ has the competence reserved in the investigation of crimes related to illegal immigration and human trafficking.
Proceedings of coercive removal and judicial expulsion of foreign nationals fall under the competence of the PSP and GNR.