Talent Partnerships: Commission launches new initiative to address EU skills shortages and improve migration cooperation with partner countries

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This article is brought to you in association with the European Commission.


Today, the Commission is launching Talent Partnerships, a key initiative under the New Pact on Migration and Asylum that will help to address skills shortages in the European Union and to strengthen mutually-beneficial partnerships on migration with third countries. Matching the skills of workers from countries outside the EU with the labour market needs inside the EU, Talent Partnerships should become a key part of the EU’s relations with partner countries when it comes to managing migration together. In a conference organised by the Commission, representatives of Member States, the European Parliament, social and economic partners and other EU stakeholders will today discuss the design and use of Talent Partnerships.

Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life, Margaritis Schinas, said: “Well-managed, legal migration can bring great benefits to our society and the economy – especially as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. Upskilling our existing workforce is essential but labour migration can also play an important role in reducing the skills gap and boosting EU innovation potential. Talent Partnerships are a “triple win” for all the parties involved – Member States, partner countries and migrants themselves.”

Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, said: “Replacing irregular migration with legal pathways should be our strategic objective. We need legal migration: Europe’s working age population is shrinking and many key sectors face skills shortages, like healthcare and agriculture. Talent Partnerships will help match the skills of candidates to work in Europe with labour market needs. Talent Partnerships will also give Europe a great tool to work together with our partner countries on all aspects of migration, something that’s been missing up to now.”

A new approach to migration partnerships

Mobility and legal migration opportunities play a key role in the EU’s approach to managing migration with partner countries. Talent Partnerships will provide an EU policy and funding framework to engage strategically with partner countries and better match labour and skills needs. They will be open to students, graduates and skilled workers. Talent Partnerships will also provide opportunities for vocational education and training, integration support for returning migrants, improving the EU’s work with the diaspora, as well as expertise and analysis on employment needs.

Providing safe and legal pathways is a priority for the Commission and together with efforts to address the root causes of irregular migration, such as fighting smuggling, supporting refugee populations and providing funding for migration management infrastructure, Talent Partnerships will provide opportunities for people to live and work legally in the EU.  At the same time, they will help reduce pressure on the EU labour market provoked by a shrinking work population and skills shortages that cannot be fully addressed by activating and upscaling the domestic workforce.

Next steps

Following the event, the Commission will put forward a number of tailor-made Talent Partnerships with specific key countries and regions in cooperation with interested Member States and other stakeholders.

Background

In line with the New Pact on Migration and Asylum, the EU needs a comprehensive approach to managing migration that brings together both internal and external policies and reflects the EU’s strategic interests and the interests of partner countries. In recent years, the Commission launched and financially supported pilot projects with the aim of reinforcing legal migration channels from countries such as Egypt, Moldova, Morocco, Nigeria, Senegal, and Tunisia. The EU also opened Erasmus+ and vocational training to non-EU nationals and offered support grants for the mobilisation of the diaspora.

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