European Migration Network


Briefing paper of the EMN – DG HOME – JRC Roundtable

EU labour migration policy: time to move from a skill-based to a sector-based framework


The first European Migration Network Rountable organised in collaboration with Joint Research Centre and DG Home took place on 5 November 2020 in a virtual setting. 

The roundtable brought together key thought leaders from academia, think tanks, intergovernmental and international organizations as well as Member States to discuss the extent to which the current EU labour migration policy responds to the labour market in terms of current and future skill and sectoral needs, questioning whether it is time to move from a skill-based to a more sector-based framework.

Main key points to note:

- The link between labour market needs and labour migration is not evident – migration is only one of many tools to address labour shortages.

- It is crucial to rethink the relationships between labour migration and labour market needs and how low and medium skilled professions and sectors can be sustainably included in the design of EU labour migration policies.

- The EMN and OECD have been collaborating with the European Commission in order to provide information on how the pandemic is affecting migration in the EU and beyond useful to governments and policy makers. The result of the collaboration is a series of five Informs on measures taken at national and EU level in response to COVID-19 and their impacts on migration to address the negative consequences of the pandemic.

- Skills mobility/talent partnerships are seen as an opportunity for the EU although it will be challenging to establish partnerships that span across all EU countries.

- It is difficult to say whether a sectoral or skills approach is better for an EU labour migration policy that responds to labour market needs, as it depends on the sector. Skills or sectors should not be a binary choice.

More information here.

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