The Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum promises that digital services will be provided on the portal, starting with applications for residence permits for family reunification.

The portal of the Agency for Integration, Migration and Asylum (AIMA) will allow applications for residence permits for family reunification, according to a regulatory decree published on Wednesday.

The decree regulating the law on foreigners, published this Wednesday in the Diário da República, amends the “regulation of the legal regime for the entry, stay, exit and removal of foreign citizens from national territory”.

The decree includes the new functions of AIMA, which was created on October 29 to replace the Aliens and Borders Service (SEF) and the High Commission for Migration (ACM), and of the GNR and PSP, which will now be the institutions responsible for border control.

“This regulatory decree modernizes and simplifies administrative procedures with a view to ensuring that AIMA, I.P., can examine and decide on cases relating to the stay of foreign citizens in national territory in a timely manner and with increased security requirements,” reads the decree published on Wednesday.

In a statement sent to Lusa, AIMA explains that this change “constitutes a decisive step in improving services” to migrant citizens, because it makes it possible to “modernize and simplify administrative procedures, allowing the instruction and decision of processes relating to the stay of foreign citizens in national territory in a timely manner and with increased security requirements”.

With this new regulatory decree, it will be possible to “make digital services available on the AIMA Portal, for sending, receiving and paying for residence permit applications, eliminating the need to schedule appointments and travel” to physical locations, “freeing officials from tasks with no added value, such as handling the payment of fees”.

Soon, AIMA promises, digital services will be available on the portal “starting, as has already been announced, with applications for residence permits for family reunification”.

Family reunification processes have been one of the main reasons for complaints from legal immigrants in Portugal, who accuse the country of violating its own law and international agreements by failing to grant tens of thousands of pending applications.

In addition, the law authorizes digital applications for the granting and renewal of residence permits and allows these applications to also be made by employers, research centers or educational establishments in which immigrants are included.

The decree also authorizes AIMA “to enter into the necessary protocols to guarantee proof of legal situations through direct access to various databases of public institutions, ensuring greater speed and security of information”, such as “proof of the existence of an employment contract, residence in national territory, registration and regularized contributory situation with social security and the tax authority, attendance at an educational establishment, volunteering or internship”.

This access to the database to confirm the information will allow applications to be made less bureaucratic and the process also includes the use of digital signature certificates, such as the Digital Mobile Key.

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