The high-level conference "Integration and Inclusion of Migrants in Portugal: A Collaborative Approach", took place in Lisbon, on September 28th

It was an opportunity to reflect on strategies and policies to help promoting migrant integration in Portugal and in Europe. The event included the presentation the results from the previous project  “Portugal: Technical Support to the High Commission for Migration to Improve the Response of National Centres for Migrant Integration by Assessing and Evaluating their Services and Operations”, concluded on March 2022; and marked the launch of the current project “Portugal: Enhancing Migrant Integration Services”, implemented by IOM Portugal in cooperation with the ACM and funded by the European Commission through the DG REFORM. The project supports ACM in liaising with partner entities, coordinating the different services of the National Support Network for the Integration of Migrants (RNAIM), improving digital platforms and structuring their training offer.

During the opening session, the Director-General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM), Mario Nava, presented the support and assistance provided by DG REFORM to Member States and highlighted the importance of migrants having a “fair and simple, easy access to rights, services, jobs and education”. The Minister in the Cabinet of the Prime Minister and for Parliamentary Affairs, Ana Catarina Mendes, expanded on the government’s policies and goals regarding migrant integration in Portugal, reinforced the role of digitalization to better respond to migrants’ needs, the key role of integration and inclusion on public policy. IOM Portugal Head of Office, Vasco Malta, focused on the need to guarantee specialized public services and constant adaptation to respond to migrants’ needs, concluding that “effectiveness and efficiency are the guidelines of the partnership between OIM and ACM”.

Concerning the technical support instrument, with a focus on the policy area of migration, Mafalda Ferreira, Agency for Development and Cohesion (AD&C), presented an overview of the implementation of the instrument in Portugal; and Rafail-Dimitrios Ntentas, DG REFORM, further clarified the Technical Support Instrument 2023.

With regards to the collaborative work between ACM and IOM to enhance integration services, Mário Ribeiro, ACM, gave an overview of the starting point of the mentioned projects; and António Castro Nunes, IOM Portugal, focused on the expected results of the current project.

Focusing on the opportunities and challenges for migrant integration in Europe and Portugal, Paola Alvarez, IOM Regional Office, elaborated on the importance of integration and social inclusion, policy frameworks and IOM initiatives in this regard. Sónia Pereira, High Commissioner for Migration, focused on the work developed in Portugal in this field, and the role of the ACM, namely of hosting and integrating migrants, through an integrated response of public services. The High Commissioner highlighted that Portugal has been valuing and developing “approaches based on interculturality, prevention and fight against racism and discrimination, and on the reduction of inequalities”.

Finally, during the closing remarks, Ioannis Hadjiyiannis, DG REFORM, reiterated that enhancing migrant integration was a key policy area for DG REFORM. Ola Henrikson, IOM Regional Director, concluded that “integration is a dynamic and multidirectional process that involves mutual adaptation of migrants and the host society based on principles of protection of fundamental rights, respect, tolerance and non-discrimination. It is a multidimensional issue that covers migrant’s inclusion on economic, psychological, social, linguistic and civic spheres, as well as empowering host communities and local actors to receive and engage with migrants. “


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