Im,age: EPA... already well over 1.5 million Ukrainians, mainly women, children and teenagers, have left their country in fear of their lives

Employment and Immigration of Ukrainians: Portuguese ‘teams’ travel east

Portugal’s embassies in Warsaw and Bucharest are to be reinforced with teams of officials from the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP) and the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) to respond to requests from Ukrainian nationals seeking temporary protection in Portugal.

“By decision of the cabinet, Portugal will have in the embassy in Warsaw but also in the embassy in Bucharest four technicians in each: two from the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF) and two from the Institute of Employment and Vocational Training (IEFP) to foster the reception in Portugal,” the secretary of state for internationalisation, Eurico Brilhante Dias has told Lusa.

The teams members will be rotated every 10 days, according to Brilhante Dias, who explained their role will be to “help in the processing and even, in a first phase, in the integration with the employment offer that already exists in Portugal.”

The secretary of state himself will travel to Warsaw on March 8-11 “in the context of promoting a concerted response to the refugee crisis from Ukraine, especially in the context of logistics and humanitarian support.”

He explained one of the objectives is precisely to “accelerate” the implementation “of this working model between the SEF, the IEFP and the embassy in Warsaw and to talk to the Polish government to express our support.”

Brilhante Dias also told Lusa that he would have meetings with Polish authorities, Portuguese businesses and associations that are providing support for Ukrainian refugees to come to Portugal to seek temporary protection.

The aim is “to show that Portugal is able to quickly provide a legal framework for reception and correspond to the willingness that the Portuguese have shown to help,” he said.

Brilhante Dias cited the importance of municipal councils being ready to liaise with the existing Ukrainian community in Portugal, to promote initiatives to lay on transport from countries neighbouring Ukraine, citing “councils that have sought to host, but also those that with us coordinated the departure of buses towards, essentially, Poland, but in the particular case of Leiria’s city council, buses that went to Hungary.”

He also said that he would soon be going to Romania, while the government is “also following what is happening in Slovakia and Hungary” in order to express to the governments of these countries “a clear idea that Portugal has a legal framework for the reception [of Ukrainians], job search and integration in the … social network and housing offer, which is being very well managed by … colleagues for migration”.

The secretary of State also noted there are airlines which have expressed readiness to organise airlifts of Ukrainians to Portugal.

“There are also naturally some initiatives in the framework of air transport, which we continue to study at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, with proposals from operators who express willingness to do air transport operations,” he said. “But in due course we will see when they can materialise.”

Tuesday signals the 12th day of the Russian invasion which has been condemned by the international community in general, which has, and is, responding by sending arms to Ukraine and strengthening economic sanctions against Moscow.