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Brexit: Portugal reaches out to Goans in the UK

Officials of the Portuguese embassy responded to queries and distributed registration forms to the Goans, who acquired Portuguese nationality extended to people born before the liberation of the erstwhile Portuguese colony of Goa, Daman and Diu on December 19, 1961, and their two generations.

world Updated: Aug 07, 2018 08:05 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
Brexit,Portugal,Goans
A food stall at the UK Goan Festival held in London in August 2017. (HT File Photo)

Officials of the Portuguese embassy in London interacted on Sunday with thousands of Goans who are in the United Kingdom with Portuguese passports and explained to them implications of Brexit for their continued stay in the country.

The officials responded to queries and distributed registration forms to the Goans, who acquired Portuguese nationality extended to people born before the liberation of the erstwhile Portuguese colony of Goa, Daman and Diu on December 19, 1961, and their two generations.

Joana Gaspar, consul-general of Portugal, was at the day-long ‘UK Goan Festival’ in London, which was attended by a large number of people from areas such as Swindon, Leicester and Southall. A similar outreach event for Goans was held by the embassy in Southall on July 12.

Final rules for Portuguese and EU citizens in the UK are yet to be finalised in talks between London and Brussels. The UK’s formal exit from EU is scheduled for March 29, 2019.

As per the current norms, the Goans were told they would have all rights of EU citizens until December 31, 2020. From March 30, 2019 and until December 31, 2020, they will be required to apply for “settled” or “pre-settled” status to the UK Home Office.

There are indications of lesser number of Goans with Portuguese passports coming to the UK in recent months due to some anxiety over Brexit’s implications.

Nearly 10,000 people revelled at the annual festival to the accompaniment of food, raffles, music bands – such as Tidal Wave – from Goa and elsewhere performing numbers in Konkani, among other languages. the festival began with a mass by Rev Patrick Lynch of Southwark.

Civil servant Jaime Barreto and others met representatives of Air-India during the festival, and urged them to launch a direct flight between London and Goa. He said the officials responded positively, adding that the demand would be conveyed to the airlines management.

Ravi Vaz, president of the 1966-established Goan Association (UK), said: “We have been attracting Goans from not only the UK but also Europe and the rest of the world. Our mission is to promote Konkani, our culture and heritage, especially among the youth.”

First Published: Aug 07, 2018 08:02 IST