Project News

Senior expert roundtable on bilateral and EU labour migration partnerships

04 December 2023


ICMPD organised a virtual senior expert roundtable entitled "Building upon the Patchwork of Bilateral and EU Labour Migration Partnerships.” Participants discussed what the EU and its member states can do to better attract talent from outside the EU, and to become more appealing destinations in the global race for talent. 

During the roundtable, experts and practitioners discussed good practices and lessons learnt in designing and implementing both bilateral labour migration agreements and those implemented within EU frameworks. Participants representing government agencies, EU institutions, academia, and think tanks noted how widespread labour shortages in the EU are prompting Member States to reassess their labour migration strategies to bolster their ability to attract workers with diverse skill sets, whether through EU-wide initiatives or bilateral agreements.

The cornerstone of the discussion was the added value of the EU in labour migration partnerships. Acknowledging that labour migration is a prerogative of Member States, participants remarked that the EU can help Member States attract talent more effectively than individual Member States could alone. Specific areas in which the Union could play a critical role are investing in skills and education in partner countries so that there is a pool of labour with the sought-after skills from which to recruit, as well as achieving economies of scale in negotiating and implementing specific schemes.

Furthermore, the EU can contribute by sharing labour market intelligence on countries of origin to efficiently address their labour shortages as well, thus creating win-win actions that contribute to development goals and get buy-in from potential partner countries. The EU Talent Pool, a new EU platform aiming to facilitate the recruitment of job seekers from non-EU countries, is also expected to make international recruitment easier and faster and enable employers to access a wider pool of skills and talent. Conversely, prolonged visa processing, restricted avenues for permanent residency and intra-EU mobility, and challenges in recognising skills and qualifications collectively diminish the attractiveness of the European labour market to prospective workers. 


The "Fit for the Future? The European Skills Agenda between Migration Potential and Labour Dynamics" project is a collaborative effort between ICMPD, the European Policy Centre, and Egmont Institute, dedicated to enhancing the European Skills Agenda and aligning it with the European Year of Skills.

ICMPD’s "Recommendations for the Next Five Years of EU Migration Policy (RECs)" initiative strives to enhance migration governance in Europe by offering strategic recommendations for the forthcoming European Commission and other EU stakeholders.