Africa-Press – Cape verde. The Cape Verdean Attorney General (PGR), José Landim, said today that the Public Ministry continues to investigate allegations of “hoarding” of vacancies for scheduling visas for Portugal.
“It is also a question that was raised, by the [Portugal] embassy itself, and not only that, it is undergoing investigations and investigations to see how to do it”, replied the PGR, when asked after leaving an audience with the President of the Republic, José Maria Neves, to present New Year’s greetings.
In April last year, on a tour of some agencies in the city of Praia, Lusa found that several companies were charging different amounts to schedule visas, which could range from 1,000 escudos (nine euros) to 20,000 escudos (181 euros), which may increase if other services are provided within the scope of the process.
However, scheduling is free, through the website of VFS Global, an external company that processes applications for work, study, medical treatment and family reunification visas from Cape Verde to Portugal.
Portugal has warned about the “hoarding” of vacancies for visa applications in Cape Verde, and the Secretary of State for Portuguese Communities, Paulo Cafôfo, appealed, in Praia, to the complaint, admitting the use of alternative means to minimize the impact of these actions , which he considers illegal.
In the same Lusa report, many Cape Verdeans stated that they use intermediaries to schedule visa requests, even paying high amounts, due to the desire to travel to Portugal, transforming the activity into an illegal business, describing each vacancy as “gold”.
The same interviewees asked for improvements to avoid the “hoarding” of vacancies by Cape Verdean private companies, to speed up the process, which is still the target of criticism from applicants.
In March, the Portuguese ambassador to Cape Verde, Paulo Lourenço, highlighted that scheduling visa applications is free and warned of the “pernicious effect” of intermediaries in the process.
After the report, the Minister of Communities of Cape Verde, Jorge Santos, classified the companies and individuals who steal vacancies to schedule visas for Portugal as “traffickers” and said that they should be punished.
Since August 2022, the scheduling and screening of national visa applications at the Embassy of Portugal in Praia are carried out by VFS Global – Visa Facilitation Services, an international service provider, used in more than 40 Portuguese consular posts around the world .
Appointments for visa delivery are made exclusively through the company’s website, which will also be responsible for “management and regular availability of vacancies” for this purpose, while the costs of these services are borne by the applicants.
According to information provided by VFS, the applicant is charged a “service fee” of 4,440 escudos (40 euros), “per application, in addition to visa fees” [9,924 escudos – 90 euros], a value that is “non-refundable “.
In July, the Embassy of Portugal in Cape Verde introduced pre-payment of the service fee when scheduling national visa applications, to avoid hoarding by third parties. The Week with Lusa