Twenty thousand Indian slipped into the UK with the help of Portuguese passport, who were these Indians, of course, people who were born in Goa, Daman and Diu before 1961, their children and grandchildren. The Goans have been given this privilege by the Portuguese who left Goa in the year 1961 after ruling it for 450 years. According to that those who were born before 1961 in any of the Portuguese colonies India had automatically become the EU residents. How people made use of this opportunity? Read the complete report here.
According to the news article published by UK’s top most news media portal Daily Mail Online, around 20 thousand Indians entered into various European countries with the help of Portuguese passport legally. No illegal business as the holders of Portuguese passports was authorized by the UK to travel and settle in any of the European countries without the need visa.
According to Mail online, tens of thousands of Indian had legally become the citizens of Portugal that automatically enabled them to reach the UK. As mentioned above, Portuguese law lets anyone born before 1961 in areas that were once Portuguese colonies to become EU residents. It has been claimed that more than half the Goans which includes the children and grandchildren lives in Swindon with the help of Portuguese passport. Critics say it makes a mockery of government attempts to curb immigration and called for the loophole to be closed.
The day Portuguese left, hundreds of thousands Goans automatically became the citizen of Portugal with the help of their birth registration in Lisbon and having the “Bill of Identity” even though they never set their foot there, and this included the children and grandchildren of the Goans born before 1961 in Goa.
Out of this tens of thousands Goan settled in Britain using an immigration loopholes. At least 20,000 people have evaded strict checks on non-EU residents coming to the UK after obtaining Portuguese passports in India which give them full rights to live and work here.
Although it all started with only Goans getting into the UK legally with the help of Portuguese link but later many Indians manage to enter the UK with fake documents. Their numbers have surged in recent years and they are just part of a far larger group of hundreds of thousands who have arrived in Britain from outside the EU, many through similar loopholes. The Indians have taken advantage of Portuguese law allowing anyone born before 1961 in the Indian west coast state of Goa and the coastal towns further north of Daman and Diu to give up their Indian passport and become EU citizens simply because these places were once colonies of Portugal.
With the due course of time, the number of people acquiring the Portuguese passport grown tremendously and many of them entered directly into the Britain without setting their foot in Portugal or any other European countries. Philip Hollobone, the Tory MP for Kettering, said: ‘This is an outrageous loophole and it must be closed. This is yet another case of the issuing of passports by an EU country to people who have no intention of going to that country, but head straight to Britain. ‘If we left the EU, we could introduce border controls that would prevent these people from coming in.’
The report published by the Mail Online claimed that the population of Portuguese passport holder in Britain was around 13000 in the year 2014 which shot up to 20000 in June last year. That was around 50 percent increase in migration in just one year. Out of total Goans living in the UK, more than half the Goans live in Swindon claimed the report. The report further claimed that in the year 2000 only 25 Goans were living in Swindon which shot up to 10,000 in 15 years.
According to many Goans, who spoke on this issue with the media claimed that they had encashed this opportunity to give their children a better life. This statement makes it clear that in India or perhaps in Goa there were no better opportunities that made many Goans migrate to the UK. According to the reports, there are around 4,000 Portuguese Indians living in Leicester East, whose MP Keith Vaz is himself a Goan Indian.
The Mail Online made the most shocking revelation that, potentially, over a million Indians from Goa, Daman and Diu could come to Britain since around half of the territories’ two million population can claim Portuguese ancestry. Entire villages near the Goan capital Panaji have emptied as its inhabitants migrated to Britain in recent years. It further said that to cope with demand, an entire industry of law firms have been set up in Goa and the Portuguese capital Lisbon to help Indians prove their parents or grandparents were born in the former colonies before 1961. There are also dozens of blogs and Facebook pages that give applicants free advice on how to apply for a Portuguese passport in Goa.
Everybody had witnessed the big queue outside the Portuguese Consulate in Panaji applying for the Portuguese passports. The overall number of non-EU migrants making their way to Britain on EU passports has risen sharply in the last three years. According to ONS figures, in June 2013, there were 178,000. By June 2014, that figure had risen to 198,000, and by June last year, the total had increased to 228,000 – an increase of 50,000 in two years.
Despite the above facts, the stiff opposition which the Freedom Fighters Association of Goa has taken is going to create a big tussle between the Portuguese passport holders and people who oppose the Portuguese nationality calling if political invasion. What do you think about the steps taken by the Indian government to press the dual citizenship issue while on the other hand the new stand taken by the Freedom Fighter Association of Goa? Please leave your honest comments on this issue.