Complementary Education Pathways in Portugal

Safe and regulated avenues for asylum seekers to pursue tertiary education in Portugal
Good Practices

Complementary Education Pathways in Portugal

Safe and regulated avenues for asylum seekers to pursue tertiary education in Portugal

The project in brief

The project is implemented by the High Commission for Migration in Portugal. The APGES project started in 2012, the NEXUS and ReStart projects started in 2022, and they are all ongoing.

The project aims to promote 3 different projects that create the possibility of hosting students in Portugal through the award of scholarships:

  1. APGES: Global Platform for Higher Education in Emergencies. This project aims to stop conflict riddled regions of the world from destroying entire generations dreams of a better life, and have those generations empowered and ready to rebuild these war torn places;
  2. NEXUS: Association for the promotion of education, science, art and culture in frailty, conflict and violence contexts. This project aims to help make the world a better place to live; to provide people being left behind because of conflicts and violence with education opportunities; to focus on science, arts and culture as drivers for social change and prosperity; to advocate for more cooperation and collaborative action to enhance policy change and foster results on the ground.
  3. ReStart: Allow 20 Afghan higher education students to conclude their studies and pursue the career they choose.

These projects were all facilitated by: 

  1. APGES: the project was not only facilitated, as it was only possible through financial commitment from both ACM and APGES (more than 100 thousand euros since 2017), as well as ACM’s know how and diligent support in social integration.
  2. The Ukrainian students scholarship program was a partnership with the GALP Fundation and several academic institutions and a private dotation of 500 thousand euros.
  3. The organisation of the project by a company that mobilised internal and external resources, driven by a young refugee who they hired and shared her experience, identifying similar cases.

Main activities of the Good Practice

  1. APGES: aims to support students from countries in conflict or in a humanitarian emergency situation, awarding them scholarships to complete their higher education and monitoring their integration process into society in the country. Created in 2013 (with the name Global Platform for Syrian Students), by the former President of the Republic, Jorge Sampaio, since its creation it has supported more than 300 students, most of them Syrians. About the work he has been developing with the ACM, we highlight the more than 650 emergency scholarships granted anualy, the 72 students that concluded their masters and 4 doctorate degrees as well as the 420 opportunities granted to students to summer and extracurricular activities.
  2. NEXUS: As part of the granting of scholarships, close work is carried out with higher education organizations and close monitoring of scholarship holders is carried out, in addition to the support provided in complementary activities related to soft skills, language skills, etc.
  3. ReStart: Scholarships for degrees or masters in Portuguese universities for 2 or 3 years. Partnerships for future professional integration. Coordination with Ministry of foreign affairs and ACM to grant refugee status and secure the best support for integration in Portugal.

Partners involved

  • Nexus
  • ReStart: Partnerships with the ONG Kevolution, several Universities, and Kwan enterprise. Also, the host entities: Casa do Regalo (Fundação Jorge Sampaio), CM Cascais or Fundação O Século.

Results of the Good Practice

Complementary educational pathways provide an opportunity to access international protection needs, while at the same time being able to support themselves to potentially reach a sustainable and lasting solution through investment in higher education. This benefits not only asylum seekers and refugees, but also the host country, which benefits from skilled labour.

In what way does the good practice meet one or more of the four objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees?

Objective 3: Expand access to third-country solutions

Through the continuation of projects that facilitate the transfer to Portugal, aiming the integration of refugee students into a lasting solution that values their investment in tertiary education.

Next steps

It is expected that these 3 projects can be replicated after their implementation and the High Commission for Migration intends to continue encouraging and sharing similar initiatives so that they can be replicated.

Submitted by

Miriam Gonzaga, Support Office for Refugee Integration Coordinator, of the High Commission for Migration

[email protected]

Contact the project