Seeing the success of this programme, the other cities offered suggestions on how Lisbon can intervene through public procurement to create a more even playing field for migrants. This includes encouraging larger firms who apply for contracts to subcontract to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). It can also be achieved by including social value as a factor in tendering e.g. grading applicants not just on cost, but also on categories like inclusivity.
Lisbon has already taken a step in this direction, compiling a list of migrant-run enterprises in order to contact them about procurement opportunities. This doesn’t mean giving migrant groups special treatment, merely keeping them in the loop so that they have a fair opportunity to participate.
CITY AS SHIP’S CAPTAIN
The Portuguese have long been famous navigators, and Lisbon sees its ultimate role in migrant integration as that of ship’s captain. The city works to assist and coordinate the many able-bodied NGOs and volunteer organisations dedicated to migrant integration. The municipality’s Temporary Centre for Refugees, for example, which has committed to hosting 500 refugees, is managed by the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS). JRS equips its residents with the cultural knowledge and skills to move into autonomous housing after a period of two months.
Long-term housing for these refugees is sourced by Crescer na Maior, another NGO. This group, among other projects, seeks out available housing, matches possible house-mates, and eases integration through regular visits and mentoring. Finding work or starting a new business is demanding enough as it is, let alone when one has no home to call one’s own.