[03/05/2007] [Portugal] [Policy paper] [Multilingual]
Posted by : Portal Initial, EWSI
Authors : Portugal
Traditionally a country of emigration, Portugal from the 1990’s also became a country of immigration. Data reveals that today immigrants make up 9% of the active population and 4.5% of the national population.
Within this framework the migratory phenomenon takes on new proportions for Portuguese society. On the one hand, it represents an important contribution in dealing with the debilitating demographic situation in the interior; on the other hand it is a positive factor in terms of economic growth, for sustaining the social security system and for culturally enriching the country.
However, this situation equally carries a responsibility for the State both to integrate these citizens, with particular emphasis on reinforcing social cohesion and also to improve integration and cultural diversity. The positive role which immigrants play in Portuguese society should not be disassociated from the need for policies and sound measures which promote welcoming and integration of those immigrants and take up a prominent role within the realms of immigration policies.
On a par with the new Nationality Law and a bill proposed in the Portuguese Parliament related to the rules defining conditions and procedures of entry, permanent residence, exiting and deportation of foreign citizens from Portuguese territory the government is now presenting a Plan for Immigrant Integration which outlines over the coming three years a set of concrete commitments showing the State to be clearly allied to immigrant integration.
Through the concerted efforts of different ministries, and the specific competences of each of them, an ambitious political programme is being developed to reach higher levels of immigrants integrating into Portuguese society by launching new initiatives, by building upon existing initiatives and by simplifying and reducing the bureaucracy surrounding procedures.
This plan outlines a set of 122 measures, covering diverse vertical and transverse sectors and assuming as main goal to bring to conclusion the complete integration of immigrants into Portuguese society and which establishes a set of guiding principles.