Can the EU Talent Pool drive complementary pathways to the EU?

Released 12 June 2023

Within the EU, there are growing concerns about the ever-increasing numbers of displaced persons globally on the one hand, and the ever-increasing need for workers in all sectors on the other. While displacement and labour shortages are treated as separate policy areas, their potential solutions might be well connected. Complementary labour pathways are a promising solution for both challenges, and the EU Talent Pool could support their expansion in Europe if accompanying measures help it to meaningfully include displaced persons and support employers.

Tapping displaced talent: Policy options for EU complementary pathways

Policy Brief

Published June 2023

*European Union


The talent that refugees possess is often overlooked in policy and public discussions. Skills-based policies such as complementary labour pathways, which facilitate refugee labour mobility, can bring tangible benefits for refugees, receiving employers and economies, and countries of first asylum. This policy brief, based on desk research and interviews with dozens of stakeholders, shares policy options for expanding complementary labour pathways in the EU.

Mapping of complementary labour and education pathways for people in need of protection


Published May 2023


Conducted as part of the EU-funded and ICMPD-implemented Migration Partnership Facility project “Making refugee talent visible and accessible to EU labour markets – tapping into the potential of skills-based complementary pathways,” this mapping looks globally at channels through which persons in need of protection can work and study in a third country. These schemes enable people in need of protection to utilise and develop their skills.

The missing link: Promoting refugees’ skills-based mobility within Europe

Published June 2022


The Common European Asylum System prohibits the mobility of persons entitled to international protection within the European Union, making it more difficult for displaced persons to rebuild their lives even after arriving in Europe and receiving protection status. Recent developments soften this strict policy of immobility for some. In this context, intra-EU mobility based on refugees’ skills could become a game-changer. The tools are there. What is needed now is to connect these initiatives so that more displaced persons can use their skills for their benefit and that of receiving countries. This practice note discusses the different pieces of the puzzle for supporting displaced persons in making use of their skills for their benefit and that of receiving EU countries.