In the past month of January alone, twenty-two Portuguese nationals were
denied entry to Mozambique after failing to meet visa requirements,
even though until recently it was possible to attain border visas on
A high-ranking official at the Mozambican consulate in Oporto told the The Portugal News that while there have been no changes to the visa laws themselves, authorities are trying to "correct a few things."
Because of the situation at the beginning of January, when 22 Portuguese nationals were forced to return to Lisbon on the TAP flights they had arrived on, the national flag-carrier has made it necessary for all non-resident passengers travelling to Mozambique to have a valid visa and return ticket before leaving Portugal.
On the airline's Facebook page it explains: "This measure comes as Maputo Airport Migration Services have been refusing to issue visas on arrival, forcing TAP to undertake the return of passengers who do not comply with the afore-motioned conditions" [a valid visa and return flight ticket].
Portugal's Ministry for Foreign Affairs confirmed that while there has been no alteration to visa laws, immigration authorities in Mozambique are clamping down on all foreigners entering the country.
In total, including the 22 Portuguese nationals, 61 foreigners have been refused entry to Mozambique since the beginning of 2013.
Information on the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office website, last updated on 23 January 2013, states: "It has been possible for tourists to purchase a border visa, (a visa that may be issued at airports and land borders on arrival) which is single-entry, non-renewable, and valid for 30 days. However, there have been a number of recent reports of visitors being refused this service, resulting in them being turned back from border posts and airports. It is therefore strongly advisable for all tourists to obtain visas before travel."
Speaking to The Portugal News on Monday, a consular source explained: "There are many citizens, not just Portuguese but others, who ask for tourist visas then get there and look for a job. That creates a problematic situation. Others arrive at the border and don't know what they're doing there or where they're going to stay."
Asked whether there has been a rise in the number of Portuguese travelling to Mozambique, the spokesperson believes "only time and statistics will tell", but reflected: "If things are being corrected it is because there is a flux."
Portugal's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been in touch with authorities in Maputo and says they are working together to try and find a solution for the "sporadic problems" related to visas.
TAP spokesperson António Monteiro described the airline's newly-adopted rules as being due to "a change in practice" by Mozambican authorities.
"There are problems with visas. Until now they were also issued on entry and, therefore, at this point we are advising all passengers to carry the respective visa from Portugal, because people who arrive in the country without one are returned to where they came from", he said in comments to Lusa News Agency.
Entry to Mozambique may be granted on several visas; diplomatic, courtesy, official, tourist, business, student and ‘in transit' visas, among others.
But it is believed there has been a surge in the number of Portuguese looking for work in Mozambique and other Portuguese-speaking African countries in recent times, particularly among young graduates.
Paulo Saldanha, 31, is one example of highly-qualified Portuguese professionals looking to work "ideally somewhere like Timor, Angola or Mozambique", largely because of Portugal's current social and economic conjuncture.
Between 2010 and March last year Mr. Saldanha worked in Timor as part of a pilot project promoting the Portuguese language within the civil service. His position was for the Ministry for Agriculture.
But since returning from Timor and despite a number of interviews for placements within the afore-mentioned countries, a job has so far evaded him.
"There are more and more people looking to go abroad. Before it was harder to find people willing to go, now everyone wants to", he says, stressing that he knows many people of the same mindset as he and his wife, and that talk of going to work in Portuguese-speaking countries overseas is "a daily conversation."
Data from the National Statistics Institute (INE) shows that the number of Portuguese nationals emigrating almost doubled from 2010 to 2011, from 22,172 to 41,444 individuals respectively.
During those 12 months the number of residents in Portugal emigrating to outside the EU more than tripled, from 4,342 in 2010, to 15,507 the year after.
(Source: The Portugal News Online - http://theportugalnews.com)
Club of Mozambique, aqui.