The decree-law that creates AIMA was published today in Diário da República and brings to an end, by merger, the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) and the High Commission for Migration (ACM).

According to the document, under the responsibility of the Deputy Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, AIMA will succeed SEF in its functions in administrative matters related to foreign citizens and the High Commission for Migration regarding issues of reception and integration of immigrants in Portugal.

The social inclusion programs for children and young people from more vulnerable socioeconomic contexts, which are currently the responsibility of the ACM, will be transferred to the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth, says the decree-law.

“More efficient”

The Government emphasises that "the mission of implementing national and European public policies in terms of migration and asylum, namely those relating to the entry and permanence and reception and integration of foreign citizens in national territory, will now take place under the aegis of a single administrative entity, pursuing a global approach in the management of migration and asylum, making the system more efficient and more resistant to future migratory pressures and humanitarian crises”.

According to the executive, the merger of ACM into AIMA represents “a new positioning of public policies on migration and diversity management, both nationally and internationally, which is not alien to the complexity of migratory flows in our times, making documentation of foreign citizens the first step in the integration process of regular, safe and orderly migrations”.

Passports and residencies

Within the scope of the end of SEF, the Instituto de Registo e Notariado (IRN) now ensures the competences in terms of granting and issuing the Portuguese electronic passport that were exercised by SEF, as well as the attendance of renewals of residence permits, allowing citizens who regularly reside in the national territory can handle the respective documentary processes in the same places as national citizens.

The decree-law also promotes the legislative changes necessary for the new configuration of the Portuguese border control system, which creates the Borders and Foreigners Coordination Unit.

“In order to guarantee the stability of the transition to the new configuration of the Portuguese border control system, it was decided to foresee that the present decree-law enters into force on 29 October 2023, coinciding with the end of the summer IATA”, reads the document that was approved by the Council of Ministers on April 6, stressing that until that date the necessary steps are being taken to guarantee the installation of AIMA, namely the appointment of the members of the board of directors.

Police roles

As part of the end of the SEF, police competences go to the Public Security Police, the National Republican Guard and the Judiciary Police.

The GNR will be responsible for monitoring, inspecting and controlling maritime and land borders, including cruise terminals. The PSP will be responsible for monitoring, inspecting and controlling airport borders, while the PJ will be responsible for investigating illegal immigration and human trafficking.

The restructuring of SEF was decided by the previous Government and approved by the Assembly of the Republic in November 2021, having been postponed twice.