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Is the integration strategy effective and, if so, what are the tangible results at a local, regional and national level?

Key Area:
Policies On Integration - Cohesion
17/02/2012 - 16:16
Short Answer

Yes, the formal integration strategy is considered effective, although some of the proposed measures were not fully executed and the need to continue and to deepen the integration strategy is acknowledge .

Qualitative Info

The integration strategy concerning migrants is implemented mainly through the Plano Nacional de Acção para a Inclusão (PNAI) [National Action Plan for Inclusion] - which presents the Portuguese national strategy in the area of poverty and social exclusion - and the Plano para a Integração dos Imigrantes (PII) [Plan for Immigrant Integration].

The Plano Nacional de Acção para a Inclusão (PNAI) [National Action Plan for Inclusion] presents the Portuguese national strategy in the area of poverty and social exclusion and adopts measures of local policy in articulation with the national level of intervention, having immigrants and ethnic minorites as main target groups (toghether with people with disabilities, children and older people). The fourth edition of PNAI (2006-2008) addressed immigration and disabilities through the lens of gender perspective and multiple discrimination. The fifth edition of PNAI (2008-2010) added also ethnic minorities as a target group. This Plan includes the Programa Rede Social [Social Network Programme], Contratos Locais de Desenvolvimento Social [Social Development Local Contracts] and Iniciativa Bairros Críticos [Critical Neighbourhoods Initiative].

The I Plano para a Integração dos Imigrantes (PII, 2007-2009) [I Plan for Immigrant Integration] and the II Plano para a Integração dos Imigrantes (PII, 2010-2013) [II Plan for Immigrant Integration] adopted several measures accross various policy areas, including the integration of immigrants in culture, language, employment, housing, health, education and combating racism and discrimination. The Plan for Immigrant Integration is considered as one of the instruments of the wider National Action Plan for Inclusion.

Both Plano Nacional de Acção para a Inclusão (PNAI) [National Action Plan for Inclusion] and the Plano para a Integração de Imigrantes (PII) [Plan for Immigrant Integration] refer the role of Programa Escolhas [Choices Programme] as a tool for immigrant descendants integration. The Choices is a nationwide programme created in 2001 operating under the Alto Comissariado para a Imigração e Diálogo Intercultural (ACIDI) [High Commission for Immigration and Intercultural Dialogue] which aims to promote social inclusion of children and young people from vulnerable socio-economic backgrounds, particularly the descendants of immigrants and ethnic minorities, combating the territorial segregation and promoting the empowerment of children, youth and communities through the deconstruction of stereotypes and prejudices. Since 2004 this programme is based on locally planned projects implemented by local institutions. The Migrant Integration Policy Index (MIPEX III) highlights the positive role of the Choices Programme which in its third edition worked with 780 partners and 81,695 beneficiaries, particularly disadvantaged immigrant youth.

Promoted by the British Council and the Migration Policy Group (MGP), the Migrant Integration Policy Index includes 140 indicators across five areas considered essential for the integration of immigrants: access to the labour market, family reunion, political participation, access to nationality and measures to fight racism and discrimination. According to MIPEX III, Portugal occupies the second place in a ranking of 31 countries concerning the policies of immigrants integration. Based essentially on legislation and policies analysis and on the consultation of scholars and experts, the MIPEX III highlights the following measures concerning the integration of immigrants in Portugal:

- Portugal leads new labour migration countries on labour market mobility, family reunion.
- Greatest recent progress on targeting immigrants’ specific employment situation.
- Conditions for residence keeping up with realities of recession.
- 2006 Nationality Law best for common citizenship of all 31 MIPEX countries.
- 2007 Immigration Law makes greatest improvements on long-term residence in Europe.
- 2007 Law to recognise foreign qualifications for all.
- Migrant education policies, political opportunities, anti-discrimination laws are the best of the new immigration countries.
- All pupils have favourable access to schools and intercultural education.
- Voting rights less effective, consultative bodies less proactive.
- Anti-discrimination laws, equality bodies harder to use than in leading MIPEX countries.

Although this positive analysis provided by the Migrant Integration Policy Index, it is worth referring the final evaluation report of the I Plan for Immigrant Integration involving 13 ministries who worked on 122 policy measures with 295 goals to be implemented between 2007 and 2009. According to the evaluation report, around 81% of the foreseen measures were executed. The global analysis for the different areas of intervention was as follows:

- Welcome, Society of Information, Religious Freedom (100%);
- Access to Citizenship and Political Rights, Human Trafficking (90-99%);
- Work, Employment and Professional Training, Education, Justice, Sport, Descendents of Immigrants, Family Reunification, Immigrant Association Membership, Media (80-89%);
- Solidarity and Social Security, Culture and Language (70-79%);
- Health, Equality of Gender (60-69%);
- Housing, Racism and Discrimination (50-59);
- Relations with Countries of Origin (inferior to 50%).


ACIDI (2007), I Plan for Immigrant Integration (2007-2009),ão+do+Plano+2007-2009+em+inglês+, Date of access: 13.12.2011.

ACIDI (2010), II Plan for Immigrant Integration (2010-2013),ão+da+Plano+2010-2013+em+Inglês, Date of access: 13.12.2011.

ACIDI, (2010), Relatório Final: I Plano para a Integração de Imigrantes (2007-2009),ça+o+Relatório+Final+do+PII+%282007-2009%29, Date  of access: 13.12.2011.

MIPEX (2011), Migrant Policy Index III - Portugal, Brussels: British Council and Migration Policy Group,, Date od access: 27.02.2012.

PNAI, Plano Nacional de Acção para a Inclusão,, Date of access: 13.12.2011.

Programa Escolhas,, Date of access: 13.12.2011.

Groups affected/interested Migrants, Roma & Travelers, Ethnic minorities
Type (R/D) Anti-migrant/xenophobia, Anti-roma/ romaphobia
Key socio-economic / Institutional Areas Policing - law enforcement, Employment - labour market, Housing, Health and social protection, Education, Culture, Media, Internet, Sport, Political participation, Anti-discrimination, Anti-racism, Integration - social cohesion, Religion
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