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Repository of Practices

New Model of Consular Management (NMCM)

Primary GCM Objectives

GCM Guiding Principles*

*All practices are to uphold the ten guiding principles of the GCM. This practice particularly exemplifies these listed principles.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Dates

2018 - Present

Type of practice

Project/Programme

Geographic scope

Country:

Regions:

Sub Regions:

Summary

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.
 

Organizations

Main Implementing Organization(s)

Government of Portugal

Detailed Information

Portuguese Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Partner/Donor Organizations

Agency for Administrative Modernization in Portugal

Benefit and Impact

The impact has been very positive, as more people have been getting faster response times, liberating the humans resources in the consular posts to clear a backlog of cases. The Visa portal precludes applicants of travelling long distances to the nearest consulate, greatly facilitating their lives and avoiding extra costs for applicants.

Key Lessons

Digital tools have proved to be a reliable and easy method for getting in touch with citizens.

Recommendations(if the practice is to be replicated)

The adoption of digital platforms must be accompanied with strong protection against hackers and other forms of cyber frauds. The Portuguese Ministry for Foreign Affairs, in co-operation with relevant Public Administration Departments like the National Centre For Cybersecurity and National Commission for Data Protection, among other agencies, have established a Protocol with clear directives and list of actions to be taken in case of incidents or suspicious events related to cyber hacking and other attempts of intrusions to the system. Robust security measures are in place and a list of good practices are specifically introduced in the system in order to prevent outside interference.

The site must be as user friendly as possible, ensuring that is really accessible to citizens.

Innovation

Traditionally, people used to make appointments over the phone or through email and traveled to the nearest consulate, which was time-consuming and had costs. Moreover, it was also a time-consuming process for the Posts. Now, people get more efficient consular service and at the same time the posts release workers to other more pressing duties.

Date submitted:

01 April 2022

Disclaimer: The content of this practice reflects the views of the implementers and does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations, the United Nations Network on Migration, and its members.

 

 

*References to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).