“There are clear efficiency gains. It is true that the restructuring of SEF and the consequent transition of powers to the GNR and the PSP in terms of border control and the activity of foreigners in Portugal pose challenges to integrated border management. But these are challenges that, on a structural and organisational level, aim, in particular, to guarantee effectiveness and increase border control”, said José Luís Carneiro.

“Once the phase of structuring political decisions has been overcome, it is now essential to ensure the success of the transition process”, said the government official.

The SEF extinction process is scheduled for October 29th and the powers of this security service will be transferred to seven organisations.

At the conference, the minister specified that the PSP will assume responsibility for controlling the air border, as well as managing temporary installation centres integrated into airports, while the GNR will be responsible for controlling the maritime border, complementing the functions of maritime surveillance carried out by the Coastal and Border Control Unit, as well as at the land border, in addition to these two security forces also being responsible for the expulsion of foreign citizens.

José Luís Carneiro highlighted that “for many months the PSP and GNR have been with SEF at the borders, in a process of cooperation that increases the capacity to control those entering and leaving the country and, at the same time, allows for a continuous and healthy exchange of experiences, which will be positively reflected in the future”.

According to the official, SEF has already given courses in the area of border control to 348 members of the PSP, with another 50 police officers currently in the training phase, and 235 GNR also attended these courses.

The minister added that the Judiciary Police will assume responsibilities with regard to crime associated with human trafficking and aid to illegal immigration.

The functions of regularizing foreign citizens, migrants and refugees are assigned to the new Agency for Integration, Migrations and Asylum (AIMA), which brings together the functions of regularising migrants and issuing documents, together with the Institute of Registration and Notary, as well as reception, integration and protection competencies, arising from the merger of the High Commission for Migrations.

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