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Having a Portuguese Passport doesn’t make you anti-national, says Vijai Sardessai

The hype of having a Portuguese passport seems to have cooled down especially after the entire Brexit issue. Ever since the 23rd of June, 2016, when 51.9% of the participating UK electorate voted to leave the European Union, it doesn’t seem like there are a lot of people lining up to get Portuguese passports anymore. And of course, there is also the problem of being accused and called ‘anti-national’.

Why do people want a Portuguese Passport and citizenship?

On December 1961 Goa, Daman, and Diu became part of India. Of course, this was only after Portugal and India signed a treaty on the 31st of December, 1974, which dealt with property, assets or claims of citizens, and the return of records. However, at the time, it didn’t mention anything about giving citizenship to residents of former Portuguese India.

The next year on June 24th, 1975, the Portuguese Government issued a decree which allowed Portuguese citizenship to all residents of former Portuguese territories if they registered their births in Lisbon. This citizenship was also granted to their children and grandchildren.

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The Indian government did not do much about it then because they wanted to avoid legal proceedings. Also, they possibly didn’t expect anyone to migrate to Portugal which was a poor country back then. After Portugal became a part of the European Union, a Portuguese citizen has the right to free movement in the EU and the right to vote in elections for the European Parliament.

Taking all this into consideration, it was not just the Goans that gave up their Indian Passport in favor of a Portuguese Passport. The United Kingdom alone saw a mass exodus of Portuguese Passport holders cross their borders in the last two years.

What started this trend?

Better lifestyle, better education, job opportunities by the hundreds and thousands, and ultimately, a better standard of living. Those seem to be the answers to this question. People wanted to be somewhere where their children got a chance to have the best in life. And to a certain extent, it’s still true today. While there might not be the usual masses of people standing outside the Portuguese consulate in Altinho, there still are people out there waiting for those Portuguese Passports.

Not anti-national

Speaking at a press conference in the city on Wednesday, TCP minister, Mr. Vijai Sardessai, said that Portuguese Passport seekers are not anti-national and their decision is a purely economic one. He further mentioned that all the hurdles and difficulties to obtain such a passport should be minimized.

He observed that the decision taken in May this year to route consulate’s document checks through the Ministry of External Affairs has caused a great hardship to Goans.

“It’s a facility given to Goans that came after a great hardship… Hence hurdles should not be brought in their way. It takes a year to get their birth, death, and marriage certificates verified, routing them through the Ministry of External Affairs,” Sardessai said. You can read more about this here, followed by this space.

Source – The Navhind Times

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