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 competencies and prior learning; knowledge creation on skills profiles of migrants within partner countries 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 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 European Commission in operationalising the skills-related dimensions of the New Pact. In particular, the ETF supports the the design and set up of Talent Partnerships with interested third countries (starting with the EU Neighbourhood, Western Balkans and in 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 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 (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo*, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia). ETF is working together with the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW) in this project since 2020 to develop an analytical framework which connects migration, human capital and labour utilisation together and apply it into six Western Balkan countries. Two analytical papers and one country report were published so far at the following web links, while the remaining 5 country reports and one regional synthesis report are published before the end of 2021.   

  • As part of Human Capital Development systems assessment new Skills and Migration country fiches have been developed to capture main trends in migration and to analyse policy responses and good practices. The fiches are developed for Georgia, Jordan, Lebanon Moldova, Morocco, Tunisia and Ukraine. 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. 

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

For further information write to

Other papers to which ETF contributed:

  • 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