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Some People misuse the Privilege of Portuguese Citizenship?

The issue of Portuguese nationality is very delicate subject, and it is connected with the pride of some of the Niz Goenkars but, at the same time, there is a need to address this issue, as there are stories about some people in Goa making the misuse of this privilege of Portuguese Nationality for their own benefits.

The issue of Portuguese nationality does not remain limited to Goa alone since the Portuguese rulers gave this privileged to their colonies in India which includes the union territories, Daman and Diu, Dadara and Nagar Haveli situated in Gujarat province.       

Goa was under the Portuguese rule for almost 4 and a half decades. The influence of their dominance has led to the development of Goa as well as its culture. Goa, the tiny coastal state is known for its beaches, custom and culture. The western cultural influence is a noticeable feature of this land. The Portuguese dominance led to a special privilege granted to the citizens of Goa.

The story begins with the news of Goans going directly to the UK making use of the Portuguese passport instead of Portugal while the Portuguese gave this invitation to the Goans to come to their land.

When the Portuguese Government gives a green signal to the passport of a Goan, they don’t ask them to learn the language first. They don’t even know a word in Portuguese while they hold a Portuguese passport. How can you be a Portuguese when you don’t know a word in Portuguese?”

According to Mr Khabir Moraes, one of the Niz Goenkar, a lot of Goans goto the UK other European Countries instead of Portugal. “Instead of contributing to Portugal and their economy the Goans prefer to go to the UK to make more money and settle down there,” said Khabir.    

According to this privilege, Portuguese nationality law allows people born before Goa’s liberation on December 19, 1961, and their children, to opt for its citizenship, which makes them citizens of the European Union and thus eligible to migrate, live and work in any of the 28 countries of the EU.

The Portuguese citizenship granted exclusively for Goans have proved to be a boon. There is no doubt that many Portuguese nationals have settled down in the UK that also includes the big chunk of Goans. Many Goans have shifted to the UK and some have even settled there. Due to the lack of opportunities in Goa, many Goans often resort to moving to the UK in search of job opportunities.

But it is noticed that Goans more than often apply for Portuguese citizenship only to move and settle in the UK or other European countries rather than Portugal. The main agenda of this move by the Portuguese government was to maintain a healthy relationship with India while giving Goa and its citizens an opportunity to work and contribute to their country and earn a living.

According to this privilege, Portuguese nationality law allows people born before Goa’s liberation on December 19, 1961, and their children, to opt for its citizenship, which makes them citizens of the European Union and thus eligible to migrate, live and work in any of the 28 countries of the EU.

There may be many reasons behind this, and many factors contributing as to why Goans choose UK over Portugal. Speaking on the same, Khabir Moraes said that “Goans have a privilege to access the Portugal citizenship, and after they attain the passport, they don’t go to Portugal but take advantage of the European Union and move to the UK or any other European country.”

Although there have been Goans moving to Portugal it cannot be denied that a major percentage of them choose the UK. One can also think that this happens maybe due to the language barrier. Goans although ruled by Portuguese for over 450 years, the language, however, has not been spoken by many.

Moraes stated “When the Portuguese Government gives a green signal to the passport of a Goan, they don’t ask them to learn the language first. They don’t even know a word in Portuguese while they hold a Portuguese passport. How can you be a Portuguese when you don’t know a word in Portuguese?”

Goans who move to the UK, often pick up odd jobs and get paid a meagre amount. Often their living conditions are also low. In most cases, Goans move to London due to the available job opportunities. Many get employed as cleaners, drivers or in hotels. The cost of living in the UK and especially, London is quite high.

It comes to a surprise that Portugal arguably has the lowest cost of living in Western Europe. Just about everything, from accommodation to groceries, is affordable. But still, Goans resort to move and work in the UK.

People lined up in front of Portuguese consulate to get their Portuguese passport

Moraes highlighted that people who opt for such jobs in the UK aren’t educated and in most cases do not even hold a college degree. He was of the opinion that “this is like back-stabbing Portugal and taking advantage of the privilege. Such people instead of working like daily wage workers must study and get a degree, and then look for a job in Portugal.”

It might be helpful to take into consideration this situation. Portugal granted the citizenship to help Goans move forward but it is unfortunate to see that most Goans fail to make use of this. Instead of working in a meagre job that would take one nowhere, it would be much better if Goans focused on attaining education and getting better jobs and if possible also help contribute the economy of Portugal.

It might be helpful to take into consideration this situation. Portugal granted the citizenship to help Goans move forward but it is unfortunate to see that most Goans fail to make use of this.

When asked about what measures Portugal can take up to repair this condition, Khabir Moraes stated that “Portuguese Government must set a threshold as to have candidates meet certain requirements of education and must be acquainted to the language and culture of Portugal. It should also be made that the passport holders must be made to work at least two years in Portugal and then allowed to work any other country in Europe.”

If anytime, the Portugal Government feels the need to remove this privilege and feel that this is no longer serving the purpose, it would result in a huge blow to the Goans. It must be acknowledged that Goa is the only state in the country that gets this opportunity. Realising this, many outsiders visit and settle in Goa and change their identity to attain the Portuguese citizenship. It is important to lay down strict measures to make prevent misuse of these privileges.

Disclaimer: This article has been compiled with the help of information available from reliable sources, and in case there are any discrepancies found in the article, please do write to us. 

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