Policy on Macao residency applications for Portuguese citizens remains unchanged

Secretary for Security, Mr Wong Sio Chak (right), meets with the Consul General of Portugal in Macao and Hong Kong, Mr Vítor Sereno.

The Secretary for Security, Mr Wong Sio Chak, said the Government’s policy for handling applications by Portuguese citizens for residency in Macao had not changed. Mr Wong made the remark during a meeting on Monday (1 February) with the Consul General of Portugal in Macao and Hong Kong, Mr Vítor Sereno. Portuguese citizens in general had made a range of positive contributions to the development of Macao over the years, he added. Mr Wong said figures for the past 12 years showed only 114 applications by Portuguese citizens for residency in Macao, or 5.5 percent, were rejected out of a total of 2,039. Last year, only four applications were not accepted, from 131 applications received. Since 2003 only one unsuccessful applicant had filed an appeal against the authorities’ decision, Mr Wong said. The rejections were mainly due to the individual applicant’s failure to meet some of the statutory requirements for residency. In addition, the average processing time for each new application for residency was about 76 days. The average time for processing each application for renewal of residency was approximately 25 days, said Mr Wong. During the meeting, issues relating to the criteria of how the authorities judge an application were also discussed. These included: the applicant’s linkage with Macao; family ties in Macao; and employment in professions that are in line with Macao’s development interests and that are capable of supporting the applicant with an adequate living. Both officials were in agreement that all exercise of discretionary power by the authorities – in relation to Portuguese citizens’ applications for residency in Macao – should be in accordance with relevant law. They added that the authenticity of the information supplied by each applicant was the key to an effective assessment. Mr Wong and Mr Sereno both agreed that cooperation between the police authorities in Macao and in Portugal was positive in its nature and close in practice.

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