Integrating - Migrants workers' integration through information provison (Unofficial translation)
Type of Information
TAIPA - Cooperative Organization for the Integrated Development of the Municipality of Odemira
Ms. Tânia Guerreiro (Login to send email)
Contact Person Function
Odemira is the largest municipality in the country in terms of territory. It is currently hosting approximately half of immigrants residing in the district of Beja (48,5% of a total of 6836 individuals in 2014) and coming from 23 different countries, if only third-countries are taken into account. It possesses ideal conditions for the development of intensive agriculture and many agribusinesses, with large labour force requirements, have set their farms in the municipality. As the native population can not meet these needs, about 75% of the agricultural workers of these enterprises are immigrants and the labour force needs are still growing. There has thus been a continuous arrival of immigrants workers, accompanied by their families for some of them.
The need of providing support to the increasing population of third country nationals led TAIPA to conceive this project and apply for funding to the High Commission for Migrations (ACM), within the framework of the European Fund for the Integration of Third Country Nationals (TNCs). The project has set up a support office (CLAII) targeting this population as well as the INFO+ which is made of a set of information and awareness actions in essential issues faced by immigrants from third countries such as human trafficking, sexual and reproductive health, Portuguese immigration law, labour law and working conditions.
Issue/Challenge and Goal/Assumption
The main objective of the project is to enhance both immigrants integration and interculturality in a municipality with an increasing number of immigrants. The project aims to promote the integration and social inclusion of TCNs in order to foster the municipality's social cohesion. This goal is reached through the following actions:
- Inform immigrants of their rights and duties in Portugal, in order to protect them from risks such as trafficking of human beings or any kind of exploitation;
- Guide TCNs through the necessary procedures to access entitlements, as well through the resolution of problematic situations. This can happen during individual or collective information sessions;
- Improve the quality of life of TCNs and their descendants by helping them toward better access to services in the areas of health, justice, education, training, housing, social security and employment. The project also intends to promote good practices in serving third country nationals;
- Stimulate the participation of TCNs in the local community life by limiting situations of vulnerability and social exclusion;
- Enhance diversity and promote interculturality by disseminating the cultural diversity of the territory, through the promotion of intercultural events;
- Promote entrepreneurship and association building which are considered as effective tools for social inclusion. The project provides the necessary support to the facilitation of such initiatives and refers immigrants to other competent services, funding resources, etc;
- Contribute to the diagnosis of the situation of TCNs by sharing relevant data for the social characterisation and contributing to the design of adequate responses to the territorial needs.
How does it work
The project included the establishment of a general information, referral and support office called CLAII - Local Support Centre to the Integration of Third Country Nationals. In order to reach the foreign population living in the largest Portuguese municipality, it functioned in an itinerant arrangement in which the technical staff members visited the main city of the municipality (Odemira) and also to the civil parish of Saint Teotónio (the one with most immigrants) every week, two villages - Longueira / Almograve and Vila Nova de Milfontes - every fortnight and the farming enterprises in other locations occasionally. The goal of these visits was to provide information and guidance in issues concerning documents, residence and working permits, and integration (social support, for example) to immigrants.
In addition to the institutional support with the municipality of Odemira, the project had other solid partnerships with the district offices of the Aliens and Borders Office (SEF), the Association for Family Planning, the Authority for Working Conditions (ACT), the representatives of the civil parishes where the largest farms can be found, and with the major agricultural companies of the region (DRISCOLL'S, SUDOBERRY, WONDER FARM'S, HORTIPOR, among others). The meetings with human resources departments of these enterprises have been the starting point for assessment of the situation in the municipality concerning immigration and the development of activities.
The project also collaborated with the municipality of Odemira in the development of a Municipal Plan to Support the Integration of Immigrants. This project consisted of two activities: the CLAII office and the actions of information and awareness raising activities through INFO+.
In the scope of the project, 662 third-country nationals were reached, either in person, on the phone, or electronically by the CLAII office (591 to male immigrants and 71 to female immigrants).
Regarding the INFO+ actions, these resulted from partnerships with the Association for Family Planning in Alentejo, the Aliens and Borders Office (SEF) and the Authority for Working Conditions (ACT), among others, and were mostly information sessions (on the immigration law, labour law, working conditions and traffic of human beings). Brainstorming sessions and street campaigns (on awareness of sexual and reproductive health and HIV / AIDS screenings) were also organised. These sessions were conducted in an itinerant way as well and were held in the civil parishes of Odemira - São Teotónio, Longueira / Almograve and Vila Nova de Milfontes.
The technical staff of the project also conducted 15 actions in order to provide information and raise awareness that reached 122 third country nationals (115 men and 7 women).
The evaluation of the project included assessment questionnaires every three months and a final questionnaire to the partners involved in the project, with final assessment of 87% satisfaction. Questionnaires to assess the satisfaction of immigrants attended revealed 94% satisfaction while evaluation questionnaire on information provision and awareness raising revealed a final average of 93%.
Who will benefit?
The immigrants from third countries are the beneficiaries. 298 Indians, 186 Nepalese, 44 Thais, 44 Ukrainians and 36 Bangladeshis were reached, among others.
Source of funding and Resources used
The project was funded by the High Commission for Migrations (ACM), more precisely through the Action 1 (Reception, Integration and Enhancement of Interculturality) of the European Fund for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals. It also counted on the logistical and financial support of the Municipality of Odemira, the Commission for the Protection of children and Youngsters (CPCJ), the civil parishes of Saint Teotónio, Vila Nova de Milfontes and Longueira / Almograve and of the agricultural enterprise SUDOBERRY.
The total budget of the project was 27.639,07€.