21 November 2023
To make the EU more attractive to talent from outside EU, the European Commission presented a series of new initiatives in a Skills and Talent Mobility package that also aims to facilitate mobility within the EU.
These measures include a new EU Talent Pool to match employers in the EU with jobseekers in third countries as well as measures to promote the recognition of qualifications and learner’s mobility. Third countries are countries that are not a part of the EU and do not have access to EU freedom of movement.
Skills shortages persist across the EU, in a range of sectors, and at various skills’ levels, the Commission stated.
It noted that the EU faces persistent labour shortages in a variety of sectors at all skill levels. The unemployment rate remains low (6.0% in September 2023), and the job vacancy rate rose to 2.9% last year, more than double the level of 2012. Demographic change will exacerbate labour market challenges. Furthermore, the working age population will decline from 265 million in 2022 to 258 million in 2030 in the EU.
“The EU’s drive to fill labour shortages in the EU starts at home: with relentless efforts to upskill, reskill and use the untapped potential of the EU’s domestic workforce to the benefit of the single market,” the Commission stated.
“But to address the shortages the member states are facing, the EU will also need to attract skills and talent from all around the world. For this approach to be successful, the EU must be able to attract talent and retain the needed talent. Developing labour migration cooperation with third country partners can also be a mutual gain, that feeds expertise and financial support back in the economy of the country of origin,” the Commission stated.
The EU Talent Pool aims to make international recruitment easier and faster and to help employers access a wider pool of skills and talent. Participation in the EU Talent Pool will be voluntary for member states, who will support the management of the platform. It will also provide information on recruitment and migration procedures in the member states and includes strong safeguards to ensure fair recruitment and working conditions.
Furthermore, the EU Talent Pool will support the implementation of Talent Partnerships. These are tailor-made partnerships with non-EU countries, providing mobility for work or training. Jobseekers who have developed their skills under a Talent Partnership will receive a Talent Partnership Pass, visible to the participating employers, that certifies their qualifications. The opportunities for legal migration can be expected to disincentivise irregular migration and must go hand in hand with strengthened cooperation on readmission cooperation.
The Commission is also recommending a set of measures to simplify and speed up the recognition of skills and qualifications of third country nationals. These measures would modernise the EU’s current recognition system and bring it closer to the system established for EU nationals that move to another member state.
The aim is to develop the capacity of national recognition authorities to simplify and expedite procedures by improving comparability of third country qualifications and of how to assess jobseekers’ skills.
Meanwhile, the proposed Council Recommendation ‘Europe on the move – learning mobility opportunities for everyone’ aims to boost mobility in all areas of education and training. It invites member states to make learning mobility within the EU an integral part of all education and training pathways, from school education and vocational education and training, notably apprenticeships, to higher and adult education and youth exchanges.
The Commission’s proposal for an EU Talent Pool will now be negotiated by the European Parliament and the Council. The Commission will support member states’ implementation of the Recommendation on recognition of qualifications of third country nationals, and invite them to report on national initiatives, reforms, good practices and statistics. The Recommendation ‘Europe on the Move’ will be submitted to the Council for its consideration and adoption.