Thousands of foreigners who entered Portugal for World Youth Day, which took place in Lisbon from August 1 to 6, have ended up staying irregularly in the country once the event was over instead of returning to their home country.
According to the Portuguese police, World Youth Day brought over 1.5 million foreigners to the country, with thousands of them choosing not to follow the rules.
As it has been explained by the police, they found out as soon as the event was over that a large number of foreigners did not return back. The same stressed that they did so with the purpose of staying in Portugal or reaching another European Union country.
Executive Digest notes that the first signs of the phenomenon started to occur at the beginning of the event, with around 200 young people from Cabo Verde and Angola not attending the activities in which they were registered.
It has been revealed that of this group, 168 of the young people were from Cabo Verde, and the remaining part were from Angola. As for the other numbers, the authorities have not disclosed official information yet.
According to the Foreigners and Border Service (SEF), the disappearance of foreigners who entered the country to attend World Youth Day is a “significant threat” to the country.
The same said that they believe that the main objective of these young people who chose not to return to their home country was to find better opportunities in the bloc.
The authorities explained that the majority of young people from third countries who entered Portugal for World Youth Day were issued short-term visas. These visas were mainly valid for 18 to 23 days, which means that all of those who will not return once their visa expires will be irregularly staying in the territory of Portugal, breaching the rules.
“The visas were issued at the consular representations of Portugal and other Schengen States, and nationals of third countries may have entered either through Portuguese borders or through the borders of other states. Likewise, they will be able to leave through any external Schengen border other than the Portuguese one. They may also, within certain limits, request an extension of their stay,” SEF said.
While the authorities are trying to investigate the matter, it has been noted that it will be hard for them to determine the exact number of young people who have remained in the country after the event.