Hundreds of Goans want to emigrate to Portugal

INTERESPortpportResidents of Goa have been flocking to surrender their Indian passports and are applying to the authorities to obtain Portuguese nationality, so as to find jobs in Europe, especially in the UK.

Under Portuguese law, those born in Portuguese colonies before their liberation, which in Goa would be 1961, continue to be Portuguese, provided their births are registered in Portugal. Their descendants, up to the third generation, are also eligible for Portuguese passports, that is an incentive for even senior citizens who are normally not interested in moving, to get their names registered with the central registry of births in Lisbon.

Reports say Portugal is not the final destination people are considering, it is in fact just a stopover, as a Portuguese passport entails visa-free entry to 172 countries. Many Goans who now hold a Portuguese passport are better paid than other NRIs. The actual goal of the wannabe emigrants is to enter the UK that enables entry into the EU, and access to over 170 countries.

Data shows that 2200 people changed their nationality in Goa in 2012-13 and in 2015, some 2150 surrendered their Indian passports to get Portuguese passports.

Oxford University in July said the only group larger than 10,000 with a common EU country of citizenship is India-born Portuguese citizens of various religions including Catholics naturally, as well as Muslims, and Hindus.

The Goan exodus is reminiscent of the Anglo-Indians, aka colonial fragments, who left independent India to join their British Raj ancestors, and settle under the reign of the British crown.