One in six are immigrants

Statistics presented by José van der Kellen, the regional director of the Serviço Estrangeiros e Fronteiras (SEF), the office for foreign citizens and border control, show there to be 66,000 immigrants in the region, with 50,000 of them being from outside the European Union.

José van der Kellen was making a keynote address at a seminar last weekend about social inclusion of immigrants and sustainable development of the Algarve.

The seminar took place in the offices of the Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento Regional (CCDR), the commission of co-ordination and regional development, located in Faro, where van der Keller’s figures show that Brazilians account for the most immigrants arriving in the region every year. According to Rui Marques, the high commissioner of Immigration and Ethnic Minorities, migration patterns are diminishing throughout Portugal and, in particular, from eastern European countries. Economic crisis and unemployment are the two principal factors which have stemmed the flow of immigrants arriving in the country.

Economic development

He stressed that emigration to Portugal has had a positive effect on economic development and immigrants contribute 300 million euros to the state every year. He said that, unlike the rest of the country, the Algarve could sustain immigrants as there were job opportunities in the tourism industry and civil construction among others.

A new project called the Algarve’s Sustainable Development Indicators was presented at the social inclusion of immigrants’ seminar. It will cross reference environmental, economic, social and institutional data, so as to inform the public, businesses and the government on key strategy ideas.

It will suggest necessary changes in policy at a regional level, which will ensure the growth of the Algarve as a region.

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