Skills and migration

In 2019 one third of migrants in the EU, accounting for approximately 10 million people, arrived from the top five neighbouring countries: Morocco, Turkey, Russian Federation, Algeria, and Ukraine. The migration profile of partner countries has transformed into a multifaceted, complex situation, including both emigration and immigration, and often transit flows through territories.  

The ETF has been working on the skills dimensions of migration since 2007. We support EU policies on legal migration; recognition of qualifications, validation of skills and competences and prior learning; knowledge creation on skills profiles of migrants within and across partner countries; and addressing the root causes of migration by improving policies for skills development mechanisms. The ETF also provides skill-related inputs into the migration dialogue between the EU and third countries upon request. The role of the ETF in the EU's Mobility Partnerships (MP) was recognised in all MP declarations.  

The ETF’s approach to migration considers important interlinkages between migration, labour markets and skills development. In the context of the the European Commission's proposal for a New Pact on Migration and Asylum on 23 September 2020 (COM(2020) 609 final), the ETF supports different services of the Commission in operationalising the skills-related dimensions of the New Pact. In particular, the ETF supports the design and set up of Talent Partnerships with interested third countries (starting with the EU Neighbourhood, the Western Balkans and Africa), for better job opportunities at home and legal routes to the EU. This would include work/training mobility schemes with EU funding and matching EU vacancies and skills needs; capacity building for vocational training and integration of returning migrants; and working together with ministries of labour and education, employers and social partners. 

Current ETF activities include:  

  • The ETF project “Migration dynamics from a human capital perspective in the Western Balkans” analyses the impact of migration on the skills pool and utilisation in the origin countries of the Western Balkans. The ETF, together with the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), has been working on this project since 2020 to develop an analytical framework that connects migration, human capital and labour utilisation and to apply it in the Western Balkan countries. In 2021, three analytical papers and six country reports – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia – were published. A regional synthesis report will be published in 2022.   

  • As part of the human capital development systems' assessment, new country fiches on skills and migration have been developed for Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon, Moldova, Morocco, Tunisia and Ukraine (see more information section below) to capture the main trends in migration and to analyse policy responses and good practices. The primary objectives of the fiches are to provide inputs to the policy dialogue between the EU and the partner countries and to the ETF policy dialogue with partner countries on human capital development reforms. 

  • The ETF has jointly developed a training course on the skills dimensions of migration with the ITC-ILO and the ILO headquarters since 2019. The third edition of the course was delivered between 10 May and 2 July 2021. 

In December 2021, as part of ETF campaign on the skills dimension of migration, three Facebook live broadcasts were carried out and a podcast was produced:

For further information write to

Other papers to which the ETF contributed:

  • Leitner, Sandra (2021). A skill-specific dynamic labour supply and labour demand framework: A scenario analysis for the Western Balkan countries to 2030, wiiw Working Paper No 200, June 2021

  • Leitner, Sandra (2021). Net Migration and its Skill Composition in the Western Balkan Countries between 2010 and 2019: Results from a Cohort Approach, wiiw Working Paper No.197, Vienna, 2021. 

  • Landesmann, Michael and Isilda Mara (2021). Interrelationships between human capital, migration and labour markets in the Western Balkans: an econometric investigation, wiiw Working Paper No. 196, March 2021

More information

ETF Flyer Skills and Migration 2021
ETF Skills and Migration country Fiche MOLDOVA 2021
ETF Skills and Migration country Fiche LEBANON 2021
ETF Skills and Migration country Fiche JORDAN 2021
ETF Skills and Migration country Fiche GEORGIA 2021
ETF Skills and Migration country Fiche UKRAINE 2021
ETF Fiche Pays Migration et Competences Tunisie 2021
ETF Fiche Pays Migration et Competences MAROC 2021
Skills and migration Georgia - infographic
Skills and migration Jordan - infographic
Skills and migration Lebanon - infographic
Skills and migration Moldova - infographic
Skills and migration Morocco - infographic
Skills and migration Tunisia - infographic
Skills and migration Ukraine - infographic