IOM Portugal carries out a visit to India to discuss labor mobility schemes

Between the days 28th of November and 2nd of December, IOM carried out a visit to New Delhi, within the framework of the Project “Promoting well-managed labour migration to Portugal”. The initiative aims to formulate an action plan for the implementation of labour migration schemes for Portugal, fostering safe and regular migration pathways for Indian workers.

The Portuguese delegation had the opportunity to meet with the Embassy of Portugal in India, the Ministry of External Affairs of India, a Representative of the State Government of Punjab, the Confederation of Indian Industries, the Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council, the Agricultural Skills Council and several recruitment agencies represented by the Indian Personnel Export Promotion Council – IPEPCIL.

The Portuguese delegation was made of representatives from the Portuguese Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP. I.P), the Algarve Tourism Region, the Association of Horticulturists, Fruticulturists and Floriculturists of the Municipalities of Odemira and Aljezur (AHSA) and a representative from Company Driscoll’.

Focusing on the tourism and agriculture sectors, this visit addressed the multidimensional aspects of international migration and identified appropriate ways to reduce the risks of migration for migrants maximizing its benefits in terms of development for both countries. The visit was also an opportunity to review existing mechanisms between the Portuguese and Indian institutions responsible for facilitating international migration and to discuss progresses in the implementation of the Bilateral Labor Mobility Agreement recently signed between Portugal and India.

“This visit reinforces our understanding that there is interest from the Portuguese agricultural and tourism sectors in working with India to recruit Indian workers. IOM hopes that the recently signed agreement between the two countries can reinforce safe and regular mobility paths between the two countries, based on ethical recruitment principles”, shared the Head of Mission of IOM Portugal, Vasco Malta.

Among the main conclusions of this activity, it is worth to highlight the interest shown by all the institutions visited in enhancing the India-Portugal migration corridor. Streamlining the mechanisms that allow the implementation of the bilateral agreement, for example the creation of a pilot project in the agriculture and hospitality sectors, is seen as a priority by the Indian authorities. In this sense, it will be essential to identify the real needs of workforce in the two sectors to be able to define and establish the right partnerships between public and private institutions in India and Portugal that ensure ethical recruitment processes and the integration of migrants in destination communities. Among these institutions, it is important to mention private recruitment agencies duly certified by the Indian State, institutions dedicated to technical and skills training, business associations and the Punjab State Government.

In the same vein, it was identified the need to streamline the processes for granting visas at the Embassy of Portugal in New Delhi. Some recommendations were made to overcome the current difficulties and facilitate the implementation of the Mobility Agreement signed between the two countries.

According to official statistics, the resident population of Indian citizens in Portugal in 2021 was 30 251 inhabitants, predominantly originating from the State of Punjab. Being one of the nationalities that has grown the most in the last 5 years, Indian migrant workers are integrated in different activities, with emphasis on lower-skilled agricultural activities. However, and according to representatives of the Tourism and Agriculture sectors, there is still a need for labor with different levels of qualifications in these two sectors, with India being a country that offers countless possibilities in terms of international recruitment. Currently, India is the 2nd most populous country in the world and has the largest diaspora in the world with about 20 million people.

The project “Promoting well-managed labour migration to Portugal” is co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) and the Portuguese Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP.I.P).

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