Britons in Portugal left in limbo
Published: Aug 09, 2022 08:46 PM
Britons living in Portugal are struggling to work, travel or even get healthcare because the authorities there have not issued the biometric document they need post-Brexit, a group representing them told AFP on Monday.

Campaigners said that British nationals were having trouble carrying out basic tasks at home in Portugal for want of the correct document.

"Portugal is the only one [country] left that hasn't issued the withdrawal agreement biometric card," said Tig James, co-president of the British in Portugal group.

Two people had been briefly detained at an airport in Germany and a woman had been refused entry to the Netherlands, she said.

"Now we have people being refused healthcare, who are being detained in airports, who are awaiting criminal proceedings, who have lost their jobs because they can't renew their driving licences."

A spokesperson for Portugal's Immigration and Border Service (SEF) said they had issued provisional documents to some 35,000 British citizens living in Portugal which remained valid in the country and the rest of the European Union.

The occasional problems raised by the association of British residents in Portugal had been sorted out, the spokesperson added.

But Tig James said other countries "don't recognize these documents that Portugal has done off its own back. It's that simple."

Even administrative procedures inside Portugal had become problematic, she said.

Portugal's government has been planning to overhaul the SEF since 2021, dividing its activities among other parts of the state service, but the reforms had run into several setbacks.