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Goans explore Europe through Portuguese citizenship

Updated: Jan 20, 2022

Goans explore Europe through Portuguese citizenship

Thousands of Indians from the Portuguese colonies have gone to Europe and settled there after acquiring Portuguese citizenship. A Portuguese citizenship, gives them passage to work and settle anywhere in Europe as European citizens. Remdious Rodrigues, a former Goa Shipyard employee - a government undertaking is on his way to UK with a stopover in Portugal to collect his Portuguese passport and become a Portuguese citizen after surrendering his Indian passport. He is a step away from giving up his Indian citizenship in search of his European dreams. The 50-year-old Indian from the holiday resort state of Goa who has his family of wife and children still based in Goa did not have to make rounds at the immigrations offices of the UK embassy in India, but pursued his English dreams through the Portuguese connections. Goa was a former Portuguese colony till 1961, until the Indian army liberated it, on December 19 that year. An Indian born in that country and who has spent his entire life in India can he become a European Union citizen, is the immediate question, which comes to mind. For some with no connection to history Indians opting for Portuguese citizenship may seem strange. But this is the route, which Indians from the western state of Goa and union territories of Daman and Diu have been exploring to further their European dreams. Yes, people from the former Portuguese colonies in India, which includes Goa, Daman, Diu, Nagar and Haveli can exercise the option to become citizens of Portugal subject to certain conditions. Rodrigues is not the lone Indian who has opted for Portuguese citizenship. There have been hundreds and thousands of Indians from the Portuguese colonies that have gone to Europe and settled there after acquiring Portuguese citizenship. A Portuguese citizenship, which gives them passage to work and settle any where in Europe as European citizens. For most Goans the most favoured destination is UK. Rough estimates indicate that there are more than 50,000 Portuguese Goans in England. The reason for favouring England over other countries is the language, which the Goans find ease to adjust, while the residents from Daman and Diu have settled in different countries. But in recent times with Bulgaria and Romania joining the European Union, the migrant workers from India are facing competition in the cheap unskilled labour market, informs recently migrated England based Goan Anthony Baretto saying, "Early days in England are certainly a struggle." What are the benefits one gets of being part of the European Union by joining the club - citizens gain the right to move in the world�s largest cross-border job market. Even as UK deliberates to keep a check on illegal migration to the country more and more people are registering online to get an appointment to submit their documents to the Portuguese Consul-General in Goa. The process of securing appointment itself takes close to one to two years, informs Wilson Coutinho, a resident of Goa who tried last week to log in on the site to get an online appointment to submit his documents for Portuguese residency. With every day the backlog of cases is piling up at the Consul-General�s office in Goa. Elaborate procedure put in place by the embassy before clearing applications take another one-three years informs Remedious Rodrigues. The process involved a lot of paper work and making rounds to different government in the last three years. The tightening of procedures was necessitated after alleged gangster Abu Salem got a Portuguese passport through fraudulent means. Interestingly Portugal has the largest numbers of people of Indian origin - some 70,000 people of Indian origin and Non-resident Indians. "Indian immigration to Portugal has happened in different waves from the 16th Century onwards. The first wave was the Portuguese ships, which carried craftsmen, tailors and others with specialised skills from India to Portugal. They have had a distinct influence on the architecture and culture of our country. The second wave was of Goan intellectuals who went to Portugal to study and then settled down and the third and most significant wave was in 1961, when the people of Goa were given the choice of opting for Portuguese citizenship," says Constantino Hermanns Xavier, a researcher. That was when a large number of Goans in administrative services and military officers immigrated. The people of Goa, up to the third generation, can exercise the option to become citizens of Portugal even now. The application process in such cases, however, is long and a large number of documents need to be verified. Sometimes applications remain pending for many months," he adds. By Armstrong Vaz Website Link :

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