According to the Portuguese Agency for Integration, Migrations and Asylum (AIMA), it will take approximately one and a half years to process the 350,000 pending applications for residency that foreign nationals have filed.
Luís Goes Pinheiro, president of AIMA, states that the objective is to expeditiously settle the outstanding cases. It won’t be possible to reply to every application in a shorter amount of time, though, because to the sheer number that have been submitted thus far.
Goes Pinheiro further emphasized that once all cases are resolved, they hope to only process “daily demand”, thus avoiding creating a backlog of applications.
As explained by Portuguese News, Goes Pinheiro said that in order to be able to resolve pending residency applications, many measures had to be taken.
One of the most important things is to increase the number of people responsible for handling these requests.
There is also an immediate need for new equipment so that applicants can register more easily and authorities can issue documents without difficulty.
According to Portuguese News, the Borders and Foreigners Agency, the agency previously responsible for processing these applications, has been criticized by unions and migrant associations over problems IT structure of this agency.
For this reason, AIMA considers it essential to invest in innovation in technological equipment and other infrastructure.
Currently, Goes Pinheiro emphasizes that the agency’s goal is to respond to the volume of information as well as find solutions that best serve those applying for residence permits or renewals.
Although there are still many cases to be resolved, AIMA said the goal by the end of this year is to process applications from people requesting family reunification and regularizing their situations.
In addition, AIMA said it will also increase the number of service points so that applicants can apply and obtain residence permits more easily and efficiently.