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Migrants in Portugal Demonstrate Against SEF for Discrimination

Migrants in Portugal have accused the Portuguese Immigration and Border Service (SEF) of discrimination and racism and have highlighted their disappointment with the authorities.

Frustrated with the treatment they have been receiving upon their arrival in Portugal, migrants protested in Lisbon last week and called upon the authorities to take all the necessary measures so they no longer face discrimination and racism, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

Portugal News explains that several protesters said that they have experienced discrimination from SEF. One of the promoters of the event, Vicente, said that lately the situation has been unsustainable and highlighted that thousands of migrants trying to renew their residence permits have been unable to do so as SEF has been impossible to be reached.

“We are thousands of people trying to do our renovations and residence permits, thousands of times a day trying to contact SEF by phone, and we can’t get in touch,” Vicente stated.

Portugal News further explains that Vicente also pointed out that the waiting times that SEF has are too long and said that migrants in Portugal should be able to receive quality public service and be treated equally.

Apart from the above-mentioned, Portugal News stressed that others reported being subject to discrimination and racism too.

Aisha Noir is one of the protest’s participants who brought together about 20 organisations that support migrants as well as defend human rights. Commenting on the current situation, Aisha Noir said that the idea that Portugal is open to migrants and it helps them grow is a fantasy, suggesting that they do not enjoy enough rights.

The same source stressed that Aisha Noir, who is a transgender Brazilian woman, said that she feels transphobic and racist stares every day in Portugal, and emphasised that such a thing shocked her when she first arrived from the Netherlands in Portugal.

Previously, SchengenvisaInfo.com reported that the Foreigners and Border Service of Portugal will soon be restructured. Even though the Portuguese authorities said that the restructuring of SEF would allow for better border management, it is expected that it would also allow for migrants to be subject to more straightforward services.

Announcing the restructuring of SEF, the Minister of Internal Administration of Portugal, José Luís Carneiro, said earlier in November that the restructuring will also help the reception functions and the integration of migrants and asylum seekers.

The decision for the restructuration of SEF was taken by the previous Portuguese government and back then the decision was approved by the Assembly. Since its approval, the restructuring has been postponed twice and it is finally expected to take place in 2023.

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