Human Trafficking

SEF investigation: Foreign national sentenced for swindling and assisting unlawful immigration

Under an investigation initiated in 2018 by the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF), and coordinated by DIAP Lisboa, a foreign national has been sentenced to a single effective imprisonment of six years for the crimes of swindling and assisting unlawful immigration.

The investigation allowed to put an end to the criminal activity of this citizen, who presented himself has a lawyer, and which, by means of a fraudulent scam, promised the legalisation in Portugal of Brazilian citizens illegally staying in the United Kingdom, in exchange of huge amounts of money.

In the course of 2017, the defendant, taking the advantage of being known and contacted by Brazilian citizens intending to migrate to Portugal and obtain the corresponding residence permit, outlined a plan to obtain financial benefit through the partnership of which he said he was the owner of and with head office, with no intention to effectively proceed with the legalisation of these citizens in the national territory.

The defendant’s mode of operation consisted in presenting himself as a lawyer to the potential clients, with knowledge in immigration law, either in the United Kingdom and in Portugal, with an office in both countries, with vast experience and a wide client portfolio.

In addition, he stated that he had privileged acquaintances, as in the Portuguese business world, within Tax and Customs Authority, Social Security and SEF, ensuring a swifter and easier proceeding.

After having convinced the clients of the seriousness of his services, he would conclude with these service contracts through which he was obliged to undergo every steps for the entry, legalisation and obtaining of the permit to stay or live in Portugal, in exchange of a payment of money amounts from EUR 2.200 and EUR 8.300.

Once arrived in Portugal, and after having delivered part or all of the amounts due for his services, the defendant did not make the due steps for the legalisation within SEF, leaving the offended illegally staying in Portugal, with no money or a job.