Employment, immigration teams heading for Warsaw, Bucharest embassies

  • Lusa
  • 8 March 2022

The country's embassies in Warsaw and Bucharest are to be reinforced to respond to requests from Ukrainian nationals seeking temporary protection in Portugal.

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, told Lusa.

The team’s members are to be rotated every 10 days, according to Brilhante Dias, who explained that there role would 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 is to be on a mission in Warsaw from March 8 to 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 that 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 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 was able to quickly provide a legal framework for reception and also to correspond to the willingness that the Portuguese have had to help,” he said.

The secretary of state cited the importance of municipal councils being ready to liaise with the existing Ukrainian community in Portugal, and 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, that went to Hungary.”

He also said that he would soon go to Romania, and that the government was “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”.

Brilhante Dias also noted that there are airlines that 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.”

Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine in the early hours of February 24 which, according to the authorities in Kyiv, has already claimed more than 2,000 lives among the civilian population. More than 1.7 million people have fled to neighbouring countries, according to the United Nations.

The Russian invasion has been condemned by the international community in general, which has responded by sending arms to Ukraine and strengthening economic sanctions against Moscow.