Type of practice:
The New Model for Consular Management was created in 2018 and since its inception has contributed for a faster and more focused consular service to national and foreign citizens. Under the NMCM, a Call Centre was created serving 10 countries in Europe, but with the aim, in future, to cover all the regions of the world. Since 2018 more than 1 million phone calls and emails have been processed. The portal E-visa was created in March 2020, allowing the submission of visas online in 90 countries.
The digital solutions apply to all citizens: Portuguese and foreigners. Both groups benefit from the possibility of making appointments online, for instance in the case of foreigners, for visa applications or other consular services. The digital solutions referred to in this case apply for services provided by the Portuguese consular posts. In the case of irregular non-EU citizens, it is the Border Agency in Portugal that has the responsibility to promote the return demarches to their country of nationality. Given the sensitivity of these matters, that are sometime fraught with difficulties, and with contacts with other governments, it is difficult to put these matters in a digital ledger.
During the peak of the pandemic, after March 2020, the Portuguese Government decided to automatically extend the validity of all the temporary residency permits for a year, liberating the migrants from the burden of immediate renewal, given the state of alert and the constraints imposed by the lockdown. This measure was particularly beneficial for migrants, as that document is indispensable to make a series of administrative demarches.
Benefit and Impact
Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)
The site must be as user friendly as possible, ensuring that is really accessible to citizens.