‘Portuguese Goans’ need not come back, feel experts; GF offers help

GOANEWS DESK, PANAJI | 24 June 2016 20:18 IST

Will the decision on Brexit poll of UK to leave the European Union result into compelling Portuguese Goans to come back to their original homeland? Or will they be retained by UK out of necessity?

While some feel it will have no impact on ‘Portuguese Goans’ working in UK, independent MLA Vijai Sardesai has already offered to set up Brexit Goans’ Counselling & Rehabilitation Front by Goa Forward to help Goans coming back.

Though no exact number of ‘Portuguese Goans’ working in UK is available, it is estimated to be around 60,000.

These Goans took Portuguese passport and travelled to UK for jobs as EU members did not require Visa to travel within EU countries.

Goans took advantage of Portuguese government’s decision to offer citizenship to Goans, whose parents or grandparents were born before Goa’s liberation in 1961.

With UK now formally deciding through a historic referendum to exit from the EU, speculations are making rounds that ‘Portuguese Goans’ working in UK will have to come back.

“I don’t think so. At the most they will have to now obtain a Visa to go from Portugal to UK. Or they can go to other European countries to work”, feels Dr Wilfred Mesquita, the NRI Commissioner of Goa.

Adv Cleofato Almeida Coutinho insists that nobody would come back, since Goa has no opportunities to offer them.

“They would either go to other European countries or continue staying their illegally”, he feels, like how Goans jump the shores from cruise liners and live illegally in the USA and other countries.

The NRI Commissioner as well as Goa’s eminent lawyer however feel that there is no immediate threat to the Goans working in UK.

The ‘Leave’ campaigners have also suggested that the immigrants could continue staying even after Brexit negotiations are complete.

In fact the whole world is awaiting address by Prime Minister David Cameron and his statement on the status of immigrants.

UK has around 8.5 million immigrants, fifth largest in the world, with Indians topping the list with 7.80 lakhs. 2.9 million among them are from other EU countries.

     

Both, Dr Mesquita as well as Adv Coutinho, feel that UK would require the ‘Portuguese Goans’ for doing the low-paid jobs, which no Britisher does.

“The UK government may simply give them work permits and allow them to continue working”, adds the eminent lawyer.

Dr Mesquita however also points out that the aged Goans, who were taken to UK to avail the facility of getting old age pension even for EU citizens, may have to either go to Portugal or come back to Goa.

Uncertainty looms large however on those Goans, who were in the process of making Portuguese passports to take up jobs in UK.

If some Goans plan to come back or others dropping their plans to go to UK, Mesquita feels the Authority planned by the central government may help them.

It also needs to be seen what decision around 4 lakh Goans take, who had registered their birth in Portugal, with a sole intention of travelling to UK either for a job or pension benefits.

Dr Mesquita however is opposed to his BJP government’s proposal of setting up an Authority in Goa to decide the issue.

“A simple affidavit submitted to the embassy or consulate is more than enough to shift back to Indian citizenship. Why create the authority when proper authorities exist here for the same work”, he asks.

Vijai Sardesai, promoter of Goa Forward, has also urged the government to set up a task force to help Goans come back swiftly.

Dr Mesquita dismisses the proposal saying there is no hurry and the situation may simply not arise.

However, presuming that the situation could arise, Sardesai has said the Goa Forward’s Brexit Goans Counselling & Rehabilitation Front would advise and assist Goan diaspora in UK to make their comeback a smooth exercise. 

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Previous Comments

Jobs which no 'Britisher' does? Nonsense. There are 30 Goans where I work and over 100 English. The Goans take the majority of the work working 12 hours a day 7 days a week if they could. Since no normal English person would want to work these ridiculous hours they are left with less hours. There are plenty of English who would do the work but we don't want to live like slaves with no life.

- Saul, UK | 29 th September 2017 20:23

 

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