Portuguese Citizenship for eligible Goans  - hopes, misconceptions, and what EU Law provides



There are many reasons why Goans are applying for Portuguese Citizenship:

1: They are distressed by the present situation in Goa, and are looking for a way out.

2: They are unable to make it in Goa, and are of the opinion that a Portuguese passport is
their ticket to a prosperous future in Europe.

3: They believe that Portuguese citizenship is their right.

4: They believe that a Portuguese passport will make International Travel easier especially with all the new Visa restrictions in situ.

5: They find Portugal 2006 as clean, accommodating and tolerant as Goa 1960.

6: They culturally identify with Portugal 2006.

7: They have funds, and would like to take advantage of the business opportunities  in the European Union .

8: A permutation and combination of the above.

9: Other reasons

Whatever their reasons, Goans who decide to leave Goa on a Portuguese passport, will do well to remember the following:

a:  Those who do NOT identify culturally with Portugal 2006, will be extremely miserable in Portugal.

b: Those who do not possess world class qualifications and the ability to compete on the
world stage, will not find it very easy to make it.

c: Those who are thin-skinned and bitter, are more likely to become more bitter.

d: The opportunists who basically hate Portugal but have obtained a passport solely to benefit from Portugal's presence in the European Community, will remain perennially bitter and depressed.

e: Those who believe that Portugal has unlimited job openings for them, will be sorely disappointed. Despite all the spin out there, Portugal did NOT make money off her colonies. Portugal is still a relatively poor country. Its accession to the European Union is changing all that, but it will take a good 5  more years for that benefit to translate into enough high paying jobs for a significant number of Goans and other Portuguese citizens to benefit .

There are many Goans who leave Goa on a Portuguese Passport and leave with the goal of making it as a waiter or cook in the UK. A good number of these Goans are living in paltry accommodations in a certain SW English town.

If that is their only ambition, so be it.

If that is their starting point, and they intend to use the facilities to better themselves educationally, the sky is the limit.

Goans who intend to obtain Portuguese nationality and work in Europe would do well, in the interim to learn a few European languages: e.g.

1. English:  A number of Goans (especially the males) speak and write atrocious English.
This compounded with the rather poor articulation and presentation of thoughts, and the
inability to develop a thick skin, is a recipe for non-success.

2. Some ability to communicate in French, Spanish and German would be a definite plus.

3. Portuguese.

With regard to Work Opportunities, it is important for Goans to understand what the Single European Act, the secondary legislations (especially the Directives), and the rulings of the European Court of Justice mean to their future success in the field of employment.

For starters, it is a given that one must be superbly qualified and mentally prepared for the challenges that lie ahead.

It is not possible to discuss the entire European Union Law in this article. What follows is
a brief summary of a section of the Law as it stands wrt the Employment  benefits and safeguards for  EU citizens. These are NOT applicable to a non-EU citizen UNLESS  a  'spouse' or 'family' of a EU citizen.

FREE MOVEMENT OF PERSONS - from ONE Member State to ANOTHER (say Portugal to UK)

The primary aim of the European Community is the creation of a common market. The EC Treaty provides that ALL obstacles to the FREE MOVEMENT of persons (goods, services and capital) shall be abolished within the Community.

EU citizens have the right (minus a few restrictions mainly on the basis of security and health) to work or set up a business anywhere in the EC.

A: THOSE WHO ARE NOT EMPLOYED (and NOT in a position to be employed)

* STUDENTS:  Students who are enrolled at an University or a tertiary level educational centre have a RIGHT to a residence permit for self, spouse and family. This residence permit is renewed annually and is conditional upon the student holding a place at the educational facility. (Directive 90/366/EEC)

* EX-EMPLOYEES of EU Member State: If retired or incapacitated covered under Directive 90/365/EEC.

* SELF SUFFICIENT EU Citizens covered under Directive 90/364/EEC

B: THOSE WHO ARE EMPLOYED (or in a position to be employed)

This includes the following categories: (reference are made to relevant European Court of Justice cases)

* Those who have lost their job but are capable of finding another job (the Hoekstra case)
* Part Time employees (the Levin case)
* Low Income receiving Part Time employees receiving supplemental benefit to bring their wage levels to the Minimum Wage levels (the Kempf case) - quite relevant to Goans who might be temporarily  working on odd low paying part time jobs in the UK and elsewhere.
* Priests and other religious who are paid their "keep" (the Steymann case) -  relevant to Goan priests.

THE EC Treaty (Art 39) provides that EU citizens have a right to:

* ACCEPT employment in any EU State, and MOVE to that State for that purpose.

* RESIDE in that State under the same rules enjoyed by nationals of that State.

* REMAIN in the State they have been employed AFTER retirement or incapacitation.

This is of particular relevance to suitably qualified Goans (with Portuguese citizenship) who are Seeking Employment in another Member State or are already Working in another Member State.

If Goans (with Portuguese nationality) have a job offer in another Member State (say the UK), Directive 68/360/EEC provides the following:

As long as they have a valid passport or ID card plus proof of employment (and NO applicable Health or Security restrictions),

the UK (for example) :

* cannot demand entry visas from them

* must grant them a Residence Permit expeditiously

The Resident Permit shall be valid for at least 5 years, and renewable automatically.

Employed EU citizens (e.g. Portuguese Goans ) have the Right to be treated equally with local (say UK) workers (Council Regulation 1612/68)

Other Rights which are applicable to EU citizens, include rights relating to their families who are NOT EU citizens (Council Regulation 1612/68)

The following are considered members of an Employed EU Citizen's family

* Spouse of the employed person
* Dependent children and grandchildren under 21
* Dependent parents and grandparents.

In short, IF a Goan has the necessary qualifications and experience to meet the criteria for a job (say in the UK), he has definitely more rights and opportunities as an EU (say Portuguese) citizen than as a non-EU citizen

April 8, 2006

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