Four years after closing down many consulates and Embassies around the world, the Portuguese government is to make more services available online.
The new Secretary of State for Communities, José Luis Carneiro, said the government wants to modernise services and put many aspects of consular work online.
The reorganisation and reduction in the number of embassies, consulates and Portuguese diplomatic missions started in 2011 under the Passos Coelho coalition government. In 2015 the same administration announced the opening of six new embassies and diplomatic missions.
"Adjustment policies under the 'financial assistance programme' had very serious consequences for the living conditions of the Portuguese here and for those in scattered communities across the world," said Carneiro.
"The modernisation effort will create an integrated system of consular management and a set of online services, evolving towards an e-shop," according to the Carneiro who said this plan is a commitment from the new Socialist Party government.
Some of the services that may be available online are the citizen card and passports, but only after careful checking of data, said the Secretary of State.
The next stop is to work on an e-voting system for Portuguese based overseas, a problem that the UK lags way behind on and, if implemented, will put Portugal ahead of many countries whose unwritten policy has been to ignore overseas voters on political and cost grounds.
"In this universe of about five million immigrants, we have over 300,000 migrants registered to vote in the presidential elections. The number from the last General Election vote in 2015 was around 5%," said Carneiro, underlining the low turnout figure.
"There now is an immediate effort to remove a set of smaller hurdles and to try and increase the participation of the Portuguese living abroad" including making efforts to increase registration and simplifying voting conditions.
If Portugal can get is bureaucracy behind e-voting and online consular services, the benefits in efficiency and for the democratic process will be significant.
The UK government is still fiddling around with pilot projects for electronic voting for overseas voters and maintains that the current system, that by its very nature disenfranchises many expats in far flung places, is good enough for the timebeing: it is not.
The other problem that the UK government has failed to address is that faced by Britons that have lived outside the UK for 15 years or more and therefore are banned from voting for a UK Member of Parliament.
In Portugal, as in many other countries, expats in this bracket have no parliamentary representation in the country where they live nor in the country where they used to live.
These former British voters also are banned from voting in the forthcoming referendum on the UK's continued membership of the European Community, an essential vote affecting all overseas Britons.
Portugal now has an opportunity to engage its overseas voters and to provide many consular and Embassy services online.