India-Portugal Bilateral Dialogue on Facilitating & Implementing Safe, Orderly & Regular Labour Migration, concludes successfully

India-Portugal Bilateral Dialogue on the immediate requirement

New Delhi, December 6, 2022    The International Organization for Migration (IOM-UN Migration), India and Portugal country offices, facilitated a critical bilateral consultation between the Government of India and the Portuguese Delegation of diverse stakeholders from the public and private sectors on November 29 2022, where the two sides reviewed the mechanisms between Portuguese and Indian Institutions responsible for facilitating international migration, and discussed the advances in implementing the recently signed Bilateral Labour Mobility Agreement between Portugal and India.

Between November 28 and December 2, IOM India and IOM Portugal carried out a scoping mission in New Delhi. The initiative, primarily focusing on the labour demands in the agricultural and hospitality sectors, aims to formulate a framework for subsequent labour migration schemes for Portugal, fostering safe and regular migration pathways for Indian workers. The meeting addressed the multidimensional aspects of international migration and development and identified appropriate ways to maximize its development benefits.

Sharing his views, Anurag Bhushan, Joint Secretary, Overseas Indian Affairs-1, Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India,, said, “India has long been an important player in the international mobility of skilled professionals and students. It is one of the most sought-after source countries for highly skilled workers. The growing specialization of global labour markets means that as new industries and service activities emerge within the “new economy”, so will the need to source skills quickly and efficiently to allow for the development and expansion of cutting-edge sectors in the open labour market. The India-Portugal Agreement offers immense opportunities to both the countries.”

The Portuguese Delegation was comprised of representatives from the Portuguese Institute for Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP. I.P), the Algarve Tourism Region, the Association of Horticulturists, Floriculturists and Horticulturists of the Municipalities of Odemira and Aljezur (AHSA) and a representative from the private sector (Driscoll’s). Together with IOM India, the Delegation conducted successful meetings with the Embassy of Portugal in India, the Ministry of External Affairs, the Protector General of Emigrants, the Skills Development and Technical Education Representative of the State Government of Punjab, the Confederation of Indian Industries, Tourism and Hospitality Skill Council, the Agricultural Skills Council, recruitment agencies represented by the Indian Personnel Export Promotion Council.

Speaking on the bilateral dialogue, Sanjay Awasthi, Head of Office, IOM India, said, “It’s important for us to ensure an ecosystem for safe, orderly collectively, and regular migration of Indian skilled professionals and students wherein the aspiring migrants have access to critical information, advice, and support at all stages of the migration process. IOM is committed to facilitating the development of policies and programmes in the interest of migrants and society, providing effective protection and assistance to migrants and their families.”

According to official statistics, the population of Indian citizens in Portugal is currently around 30,251, predominantly from the State of Punjab. While most migrant workers from India are primarily engaged in the agriculture sector as per the Government of Portugal’s estimates, more than 40,000 foreign workers are immediately required in the tourism & hospitality sector itself.

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 Portugal hopes that the recently signed agreement between the two countries for the recruitment of Indian citizens can reinforce safe and regular mobility between the two countries, underpinned by ethical recruitment principles”, the Head of Office from IOM Portugal, Vasco Malta, shared.

IOM and the Ministry of External Affairs are committed to promoting a multi-stakeholder approach to migration management. This project is co-financed by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service and IEFP.I.P.