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Portugal Sets Up New Immigration Agency

Portugal dissolved the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) on Sunday, transferring all matters concerning foreign documents to the newly created Agency for Integration, Migration, and Asylum (AIMA).

According to an official statement, AIMA “plans to set up a mega-operation to resolve pending cases,” with “enhanced security associated with document issuance” and “establishment of a permanent audit team for internal procedures and combating and preventing fraud.”

The new model also aims to combat racism and integrate ethnic groups, the statement said.

Portuguese Minister of Parliamentary Affairs Ana Catarina Mendes said that the AIMA will demonstrate a “new paradigm” in the reception and handling of immigrants seeking Portugal.

With a budget of 81 million euros (85.86 million U.S. dollars), the new agency has 740 employees and plans for 190 new hires.

According to the government, approximately 347,000 pending immigration cases and about 340,000 visa renewals are to be decided by the end of the year. Statistics show that over a million immigrants live in Portugal, accounting for around 10 percent of the Portuguese population

Source: Xinhua