In the Algarve region in Portugal, where migrants account for close to 15% of the resident population, the municipalities of Tavira, Albufeira, Loulé, Portimão and Silves are pioneering 18-month pilot integration project Integrar Valoriza ('to integrate adds value').
In collaboration with the country's High Commission for Migration (ACM), these local authorities are committed to working together to implement practices and policies promoting the better integration of migrants in such focus areas as housing, employment and education. The over-arching aim of the project is to guarantee migrant populations an articulated, integrated response from municipalities in conjunction with the relevant government sections and other public services, strengthening synergies between these to reach new levels of successful integration.
At the signing of the project protocols, Secretary of State for Integration and Migration Cláudia Pereira stressed that "when [a municipality] is designing the local housing strategy for the entire territory, it has to have provisions for migrants, or... ensure that everyone has access to Portuguese language classes". She emphasised the necessity of professional training for those who choose Portugal as their destination country - especially now, at a time when manpower is needed to boost economic activity - and for them to be able to match their training to the labour needs of municipalities. Pereira also suggested that local authorities ought to become more involved, in collaboration with agro-business enterprises, in the seasonal movements of migrants working in the agricultural sector moving around the country according to farming needs.
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