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Skills, employability and migration

Governments and institutions across the world, including the European Union (EU), are seeking to better manage migration and the integration of migrants in societies and economies. Developing migrants’ skills and enhancing their employability is viewed as a win-win scenario for sending and receiving countries of migrants, and for migrants themselves.

The European Training Foundation’s (ETF) communication campaign of December focuses on the skills dimension of migration to coincide with the International Migrants Day taking place on 18 December to highlight the work being done in this area, and as a precursor to the European Year of Skills in 2023 in which migration will feature strongly.

How is the EU supporting labour migration?

‘The EU’s aim is not to encourage migration or to attract only high-skilled migrants to the detriment of sending countries. Rather, the objectives are to provide support at a systemic level so that all parties benefit,’ says the ETF’s Director ad interim, Xavier Matheu.

The EU works to ensure that migration takes place in a safe, regular and sustainable manner. Its new Pact on Migration and Asylum proposes to strengthen and deepen comprehensive, tailor-made and mutually beneficial partnerships with key countries of origin and transit. Within this context, the European Commission is supporting the skills dimension through the launch of Talent Partnerships to provide a comprehensive policy framework, as well as funding support based on a better matching of labour market needs and skills between the EU and partner countries. They will be open to students, graduates and skilled workers. The first Talent Partnerships starting this year are with Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

What is the ETF doing to support labour migration?

Within the remit of the EU’s external relations and its role as a global actor, the ETF works to build an integrated system to harmonise and link skills recognition systems between the EU and EU neighbouring countries and within countries themselves.

The ETF partners with international organisations such as the International Organisation for Migration, UNESCO, the UNHCR and the ILO International Training Centre with which an e-learning course on the skills dimensions of labour migration was jointly delivered earlier this year.

We also work closely with national governments and institutions, social partners and civil society in the EU’s neighbouring countries, Central Asia and beyond to build skills intelligence that informs our policy advice to partner countries.

What is the ETF’s focus?

The ETF focuses on the triangular relationship between migration, human capital formation, and labour markets – see Use it or lose it!’, our report that explores the situation between the EU and the Western Balkans based on research and analysis carried out in 2020–21.

Additionally, in 2021 we explored the policy responses and good practices related to the skills dimension of migration in a number of countries – see Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Morocco, Tunisia and Ukraine reports.

More specifically, we work with countries in the EU neighbourhood region to support the necessary skills requisites for migrants, including the recognition of qualifications, validation of skills and competences and prior learning by sharing EU tools such as the European Qualifications Framework, the new Europass and the EU Skills Profile Tool.

We have also produced a report comparing the Ukrainian Qualifications Framework and the European Qualifications Framework to facilitate the integration of Ukrainian refugees in Europe (forthcoming). This report feeds into our initiative to create a network of national qualifications databases that exchange information on qualifications and ‘speak’ to each other, which benefits labour migration.