"The Hiring Guide for Foreign Citizens of the Azores has been approved, which has a set of very important information in relation to the entire hiring process and all the rights that immigrants have in our region", stated the regional secretary for Parliamentary Affairs and Communities to journalists.

Paulo Estêvão, who was speaking after a final meeting of the Regional Advisory Council for Immigration Affairs, in Ponta Delgada, said that the guide is ready to be made available and will be "widely disseminated".

"It is a guide that will provide a collection of very important information for anyone who really wants to settle in the Autonomous Region of the Azores and carry out their profession here. It is also very important information for employers", he reinforced.

The regional secretary of the Government of the Azores (PSD/CDS-PP/PPM) highlighted the importance of immigrants in filling the "screaming lack of labour" in the archipelago, giving the catering and construction sectors as examples.

The government official said that the executive will "increase the effort" to organise more Portuguese language training for foreigners (in 2023, he said, 111 people participated in those courses), but acknowledged that there are challenges in guaranteeing immigration with dignity.

"The main problem we have is housing. In order to receive people we have to have conditions. That is a big concern. The Azores want to welcome people. People who come to the Azores have to be received with dignity", he highlighted.

At the end of the meeting, the president of the Association of Civil Construction and Public Works Industries of the Azores (AICOPA) expressed the difficulties of hiring people in their country of origin, as it is a "very bureaucratic and time-consuming process".

"The guide will be a very important document both for foreign citizens who want to come and work in the Azores and for companies that want to hire to know exactly what they should do and what they shouldn't", considered Alexandra Bragança.

The person responsible for the Hotel, Restaurant, and Similar Association (AHRESP) in the Azores warned of the need to create "dignified conditions" for foreign citizens.

"The creation of the hiring guide is very important, mainly to disseminate information, because it is not that difficult to hire foreign labour. It is as easy as hiring someone of Portuguese nationality", defended Cláudia Chaves.

According to data from 2022, there are 5,123 foreigners in the Azores (2,541 women and 2,582 men), with the Brazilian community being the largest of the 97 nationalities present in the region.