Immigrants are trying to legalize after many years of illegal stay in Cape Verde.

“The process was easy. I needed three or four documents, and rightly so,” began this Guinean immigrant to Boa Vista, still illegal, now 49 years old and working in the tourism industry, by explaining to Luce.

He left behind his wife and four children “looking for a new life” and, above all, a job in Cape Verde, despite the illegal situation in which he has been living since 2011.

“Now it’s decided. Everything went well and quickly,” Kauso Camara added, admitting that he wants to bring his family immediately after obtaining resident status.

Irregular immigrants in Cape Verde can apply for emergency regularization from January 15, a streamlined process in terms of required documentation that will be done entirely electronically until June 15.

Although the authorities of Cape Verde do not provide official data, it is believed that the island of Boa Vista is one of the islands with the largest number of illegal immigrants, namely from Guinea-Bissau, who work in construction sites or in hotels, the largest foreign community in the archipelago.

In just 15 days, the platform created for this purpose https://e-residencia.gov.cv/ received about 600 regularization requests, the only way to access the process, 60 of which came from Boa Vista. This was announced to Lusa by the president of the National Commission for Emergency Regulation, Eneida Vaz.

“I think the linkage was very good, they requested a lot of information, they turned to associations, local structures, they got access to the site (…) Just for reference, we registered access to the site, about 600 requests in total. , here in Boa Vista we have about 60,” the official said after meeting in recent days with local immigrants.

Under legislation passed at the end of 2021, citizens applying for an out-of-turn settlement are exempt from an administrative offense that may occur, and therefore no fines will be imposed. The main focus during this period of emergency legalization of immigrants will be given to foreign citizens of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries (CPLP) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), but citizens of any other nationality can also access this legalization process. .

“Now the process is much easier. I think there are a few things that help in terms of documentation of the bureaucracy. Less documentation, easier handling of documentation, some documents from countries of origin that are no longer required. The cost of the process is much lower, while not forgetting the IT component,” emphasized Ineida Vaz.

The official added that in order to “support” this process in case of possible difficulties, “local structures” were created for some citizens, but the submission of documentation through the portal will be mandatory.

“Those who cannot access computer equipment, that is, in any way, have local structures in all municipalities in partnership with the Red Cross and the High Office of Immigration, diplomatic missions,” he guaranteed.

Cape Verdean authorities don’t have an updated estimate of illegal immigrants in the country, according to Eneida Vaz: “They don’t match in the different studies we’ve done.”

In an interview with Lusa, President of the African Communities Platform in Cape Verde, José Viana, singles out the ongoing regularization process as one of the “most important” measures of “integration and social integration of immigrants”, many of which are exploited due to lack of documentation.

“Because it conditions the integration and social integration of immigrants in Cape Verde. This is a way to appreciate their contribution to Cape Verde, to value themselves as people, to give them the dignity they deserve and to guarantee their rights,” he said.

According to the official, the platform points to 15,000 African immigrants “in an illegal situation” in Cape Verde, most of whom are Guineans.

“The community of Guinea-Bissau is the largest, at the level of the islands with the largest population of immigrants, and suffers most from the lack of documents, namely a residence permit. Therefore, we must support and use all our influence so that they face this process of regularization,” urged José Viana.

“We cannot leave anyone without legalization in Cape Verde,” he urged regarding the process, which will last until June 15.

According to the government of Cape Verde, this measure is aimed at facilitating the process of issuing or renewing a temporary residence permit for foreigners who have been permanently resident in the country for at least one year.

The individual process costs 1500 escudos (13.70 euros) plus 500 escudos (4.50 euros) for each family member.

The Cape Verdean government has also relaxed the requirements, and now only a national identity card, a Cape Verdean criminal record, a police file and proof of an economic situation will be documents.

This process is coordinated by the National Commission for the Emergency Settlement of Immigrants, which consists of the General Directorate of Internal Affairs, the Higher Immigration Directorate, the Directorate of Aliens and Borders, the General Directorate of Consular Affairs and Migration.

The latest available data from the National Institute of Statistics (INE) shows that there were about 18,000 legal immigrants in Cape Verde in 2018, about 3% of the total population, mostly Africans.

Many other foreigners are still not legalized and complain about bureaucracy and delays in obtaining documents to legalize their stay, which is one of the biggest problems they face in the country.

PVJ // PYA

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