Jeremy Moore is a 62-years-old British citizen that has been living in Portugal since June 2021. Since he arrived from the UK he has done everything by the book, got a tax number, a bank account and bought a property. However, there’s an important element he can’t manage to get – a residence permit.
“To have my residence here, I have to contact SEF, but when I try to call them - and I've tried thousands of times - they never answer the phone”, he told The Portugal News.
This situation has become impossible to tolerate. Jeremy Moore loves Portugal, his wife is Portuguese, like his mother-in-law, and he sold his house in the UK to move to Portugal and retire, but he refuses to be in the shadows of the law. However, despite his best efforts, he can't find a way to make an appointment or speak to SEF over the phone.
“After six months trying to sort out my residency, it is a bit annoying, because I’m trying to be a good citizen, I’m trying to do everything by the book, but I’ve stayed here longer than 90 days, I’ve gone beyond the limit so, in other words, I’m an illegal immigrant”, he said.
Asking SEF to be deported
In an email sent to SEF, to which The Portugal News had access, he explained his unfortunate situation and then concluded by saying that he is an illegal immigrant and should be deported. Furthermore, he asks SEF a couple of questions: “Will you come and arrest me? My address is below; You have my phone number and email address, will you tell me where to come to be deported?; Do you want me to go to the GNR to hand myself in?”.
He added: “It is very sad that it has come to this and my wife is very upset and does not want to see me return to the UK but I do not want to be here as an illegal immigrant so you have a duty to deport me and return me to my country of origin”.
In SEF's reply, they say they recognise that there is a problem within the system that needs to be solved, which they say is a consequence of the pandemic and the growing number of requests from citizens. They also say that they are working to find solutions to this problem. However, SEF doesn’t present any specific solutions for this case.
An unacceptable answer
“This is ridiculous situation to be in. We shouldn’t accept it. We should all apply to be deported, everyone who has not got residency. We demand to be deported, kick us out! Half of the Algarve will be empty. Portugal is trying to encourage investment, it is trying to encourage people to come here, but they didn't even bother to answer the phone”, he lamented.
He believes that this lack of response from the Portuguese authorities is a bad advert for Portugal. However, he still loves the country and praises the Portuguese people. “The Portuguese are not like that. Portuguese culture is about being polite, respecting others. This governmental body is not Portuguese, they are aliens and they are not behaving like the Portuguese”.
Jeremy Moore loves this country but wants to make things right. "I have no intention of breaking any law and I don't want to feel unwanted in this country." The only thing he demands is the opportunity to deliver his paperwork and become a legal immigrant in Portugal – the country he has chosen to spend his life with his family.