Flag of India

The meeting was not publicized in Portugal, but the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs revealed that one of the topics on the agenda of the talks between the two countries was the “rapid implementation of the pilot project on the recruitment of Indian citizens to work” in our country. The agreement has been in place since 2021.

Regulated immigration from India to Portugal was one of the topics on the agenda at the meeting that took place in New Delhi, India, between Ambassador Rui Vinhas, Director General for Foreign Policy (DGPE) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and a meeting in New Delhi, India, with Shri Sanjay Verma, the diplomatic head of that country’s MFA for relations with Europe.

The meeting was not publicized in Portugal, but the Indian MFA revealed that one of the topics on the agenda of the talks between the two countries, which took place on January 31st, was the “rapid implementation of the pilot project on the recruitment of Indian citizens to work” in our country.

Since 2021, an agreement has been signed between the two countries, published in the Official Gazette on December 20 of that year, which aims to establish the procedures for the admission of Indian citizens to carry out a professional activity under an employment contract in the Portuguese Republic.” It has not been possible to obtain information on the results of this initiative, which the Indian government is calling for to be “rapidly implemented”.

It should be remembered that the Indian community is the 4th largest in our country, with 35,416 official residents (2022 data from the Annual Immigration and Asylum Report – RIFA), and is the group of foreigners that has grown the most since 2020, when it increased by almost 40% and became one of the “top ten” nationalities.

In 2022, India was in second place, after Brazil, in terms of new permits issued – 7414 , 74.3% of which were for professional reasons.

It is also, in view of recent judicial operations to combat human trafficking and illegal immigration aid networks, one of the immigrant communities with the most victims of this crime.

This was demonstrated in an indictment filed by the Public Prosecutor’s Office last January, in which it is also pointed out that in 2022 and 2023, at least 60,000 new expressions of interest from Indian nationals for regularization in Portugal were registered.

According to the official communiqué, to which DN had access, “the two sides reviewed bilateral relations, with emphasis on the follow-up to the discussions held during the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, S. Jaishankar, to Portugal in October 2023”, in which the issue of the agreement for the recruitment of immigrant workers had already been the subject of talks.

The communiqué also notes that the meeting between Vinhas and Verma also focused on “political relations, the deepening of trade and investment, cooperation in the fields of defense, science and technology, energy, tourism, training of diplomats, culture and interpersonal relations”.

The Indian MFA writes that “an analysis was also carried out of the agreements under negotiation, particularly with regard to air links, youth mobility, visa exemptions for holders of official passports and mutual recognition of academic qualifications”.

The official spokesperson for the Minister for Foreign Affairs, João Gomes Cravinho, confirmed the meeting and the topics that were part of the meeting to DN, but did not add any information other than that provided in the statement issued by the Indian counterparts.

In the aforementioned press release, the Indian MFA also notes that “discussions were also held on the joint commemoration of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations in 2025” and “the ongoing cooperation between India and Portugal on the development of a Maritime Heritage Museum in Lothal, Gujarat, was reviewed”. In Lothal, the world’s oldest known artificial dock was discovered, connected to an ancient branch of the Sabarmati River.

The communiqué adds that “discussions focused on trade and investment, as well as the growing potential in various sectors, including IT, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, renewable energies, the defense industry, start-ups and the mobility of young people, professionals and skilled workers”.

The two sides also exchanged views on global and regional issues, including Gaza and Ukraine, and agreed to continue their existing close cooperation in multilateral fora, including the UN.

“India and Portugal share historic and friendly bilateral relations, with common values of democracy and sustainable development, reinforced by frequent high-level exchanges,” says the Indian MFA.

This February, a new meeting of this “Joint Working Group” will be held on the subject of Defense.

DGPE Rui Vinhas and Shri Sanjay Verma decided to hold the next Joint Economic Commission at an early date. They also called for a timely scheduling of the Joint Working Group on Agriculture and Renewable Energy.