Re-thinking Approaches to Labour Migration - Potentials and Gaps in four EU Member States’ Migration Infrastructures
Europe’s working-age population is declining. Employers in EU member states face large and persistent skill and labour shortages in a range of high- and mid-skill professions and in diverse sectors ranging from construction over care to information technology. Against a background of growing economic needs, the recruitment of foreign workers to the EU has increased in importance as one of the strategies to fill labour market shortages. At the same time, migration remains a sensitive political topic and levels of socio-political acceptance for an increase in labour immigration varies across member states.
The EU has developed the framework for Talent Partnerships (TPs) to respond to these dynamics. TPs are presented as a policy tool that can help member states to benefit from international mobility and to better match labour market needs with foreign skills. How to utilise and advance the TPs within the context of national migration systems is however not always obvious. It requires not only legal migration systems that can provide for efficient and effective access to legal migration routes but also a link between labour market assessments and the identification of current and future migration needs as well as information on skill profiles of partner countries.
The MPF and ECDPM have been mapping labour market needs and analysed national migration systems of four EU member states (Estonia, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal) with the aim to investigate how prepared the respective infrastructures are to respond to growing needs for workers. We were interested in understanding how existing modalities and labour migration pathways could be utilised pragmatically in the context of establishing Talent Partnerships as well as where gaps and possibilities for adaptations lie.