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Portugal to prepare UK Goans for post-Brexit scenario

MANCHESTER (UK) : Portuguese nationals living in the United Kingdom but speak Portuguese poorly, notably of Indian (from Goa, Daman and Diu)  or Timorese origin, will have a specific follow-up to Brexit, Portuguese Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities José Luís Carneiro has promised.

Carneiro told media persons that the consuls of Manchester and London were given “the chance to diversify the typology of consular stays”, namely using translators and intermediaries who master their languages.

The Secretary of State admitted that there are “very specific communities that are completely unaware of the Portuguese language because of their national origins and that have much to do with the historical process of the way these communities were constituted.”

The realisation of consular stays “specific to these communities will free the stations of a service with more delay because they are very singular cases”, he justified.

It is estimated that they reside in the consular area of ​​Manchester, which includes the north of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, about 20,000 Portuguese born outside Portugal, not only in Portuguese-speaking countries like Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde, Sao Tome and Principe, Guinea Bissau and Brazil, but also in India and Pakistan.

In the case of East Timor, although the Portuguese language is the official language, Tetum is a dialect most rooted in the community, very numerous in Northern Ireland, which speaks poor Portuguese and English.

In the consulate of London, only the number of natural inscriptions of India exceeds the 21,000 Portuguese.

The initiative will not be unpublished: last year, both consulates held briefings on the impact of Brexit not only in Portuguese but also in Konkani, Gujarati and Tetum, to reach nationals of Indian and East Timorese origin.

The reason is that Portuguese law establishes that natives of the former colonies of Goa, Daman and Diu born until 1961 can obtain Portuguese nationality, as well as their children, which many have done to take advantage of free movement in the European area and favourable conditions of entry into other countries.

Timorese born before Timor’s independence in 2002 can also apply for a Portuguese passport.

Ramesh Nata, a Portuguese native of Mozambique but with Indian origins, said that consular stays have been important in reaching the 12,000 Goans living in the Leicester region, and that they see Brexit as “very worried,” he said.

“They want to know, for example, if they go on holiday next year, they can go back in,” he said.

The increase in the number of staff travelling to more remote locations, taking equipment that can collect biometric and personal data for the issuance of a citizen’s card or passport, or performing other consular acts such as birth registration, marriage registration or consular registration is another measure of the contingency plan for the ‘Brexit’.

In 2019, there will be 35 ‘consular stays’ throughout the United Kingdom, equivalent to 93 days, with ‘premieres’ in Aberdeen, Scotland, St. Helier, Jersey, Isle of Man and Hamilton, and Bermuda.

However, faced with the concerns expressed by association leaders at a meeting, the Secretary of State exchanged

messages on the mobile phone with the Minister of Tutelage Augusto Santos Silva, who gave him ‘green light’ to expand that number and offer a service of  ‘proximity’.

The Secretary of State had announced on Monday in London after a visit to the mayor of the British capital Sadiq Khan, a reinforcement of human and technical resources, and the launch of a dedicated telephone line ‘Brexit +’, with a service centre in Lisbon.

The measures are part of the contingency plan that will be triggered in the event of a non-agreement exit of the United Kingdom of the European Union on March 29, which was tapped this week in the British Parliament and which provided for a transitional period in which freedom of movement and European legislation were maintained.

In the absence of agreement, European citizens, including Portuguese citizens, will have less than six months to apply for resident status until December 31, 2020.

The registration will be done through an electronic system of the British interior ministry, which is still in the testing phase, which will have a mobile application to read the passport and a way to cross personal information with the tax and security databases social relations.

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