The International Organization for Migration facilitated a critical bilateral consultation between the Government of India and the Portuguese Delegation of diverse stakeholders on November 29 of this year.
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.
The initiative which primarily focused on the labour demands in the agricultural and hospitality sectors was held between November 28 and December whereby IOM India and IOM Portugal carried out a scoping mission in New Delhi. The scoping mission is part of a larger mission to countries of origin (others including Cape Verde and Morocco), which are crucial to ensuring that the Portuguese side captures the different contexts of origin countries and enforcing a multi-stakeholder approach to well-managed migration.
The initiative aimed to formulate a framework for subsequent labour migration schemes for Portugal, fostering safe and regular migration pathways for Indian workers.
In addition, the meeting addressed the multidimensional aspects of international migration and development and identified appropriate ways to maximize its development benefits.
Deliberating oin the role of India, Anurag Bhushan, Joint Secretary, Overseas Indian Affairs-1, Ministry of External Affairs, 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.”
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.”
The Portuguese Delegation was comprised of representatives from the Portuguese Institute for Employment and Vocational Training , the Algarve Tourism Region etc. 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 and others.
“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.
As per statistics, the population of Indian citizens in Portugal is currently around 30,251, predominantly from the State of Punjab (especially the cities of Chandigarh, Amritsar, and Jalandhar). Most migrant workers from India are primarily engaged in the agriculture sector.
IOM-UN Migration is committed to promoting a multi-stakeholder approach to migration management. It works with its partners to increase the benefits of migration for all stakeholder- countries of origin, countries of destination and migrants, with the goal of “leaving no migrant behind”.
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