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High Level Conference on Legal Immigration

Lisbon, 13-14 September

The European Commission, in several statements and studies, has been alerting since 2005 to the need to establish legal immigration channels for Europe, so as to pre-emptively fight illegal immigration and face the negative consequences of demographic ageing on economic development and on the sustainability of labour markets and social security systems.

The European Council (Heads of State and Heads of Government and the President of the Commission) established in December 2006 the priority of developing legal migration policies that respect national competencies, so as to answer current and future labour force needs while contributing at the same time to the sustainable development of all countries.

Against this backdrop, the Portuguese Presidency has decided to organise a High Level Conference on Legal Migration in 13-14 September, because it believes in the need to deepen the dialogue on the issues regarding legal migration, migrants’ interaction and the contribution of migrations for development.

We, hence, propose to deepen the legal immigration policy, based on the two legislative proposals that the Commission should be issuing soon: the Framework Directive on the common rights of third country nationals working legally in a Member-State and the Directive on the admission and residence conditions of highly qualified workers.

Given the complexity of such issues, we intend to promote an in-depth debate that should include both Ministers and High Officers, as well as experts and members of Academia specialising in this area.

The Conference will take place at the Lisbon Sheraton Hotel on 13-14 September and will follow the agenda on the enclosed program. After the opening session the OECD report on migrations will be presented, followed by a Ministerial debate. Three thematic sessions are scheduled to take place afterwards on the following subjects:
(1) “Legal migration channels and management of migratory flows”;
(2) “Integration and Lisbon Agenda”; and
(3) “Migrations and Development”.