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EU Less Popular For Skilled Expats, Says OECD

By Hans Esser, for Expatbriefing.com
14 June, 2016


Recruiting Immigrant Workers: Europe, a report released by the OECD on June 7, says the European Union should reform its legal policies on labor migration to enlarge its share of the "global talent pool."

"Europe is facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, and this requires a coordinated, bold, and comprehensive response by member states. This does not diminish, however, the importance of addressing the challenges related to the management of legal labor migration in Europe. The long-term competitiveness of the EU and its ability to move to a strong and sustainable growth path is at stake."

The report says that migrants to the EU are typically younger and less well-educated than those migrating to other OECD countries. Most highly-educated people from third-country states choose to move to North America (57 percent), while the EU attracts less than a third of these people (31 percent).

The EU has overtaken the United States as a destination for international students, the report says. However, the retention rate after graduation is poor, with estimates ranging between 16 percent and 30 percent.

"The long-term competitiveness of the EU and its ability to move to a strong and sustainable growth path is at stake," said Stefano Scarpetta, OECD Director for Employment, Labor, and Social Affairs. "Skilled migrants can play an important role in addressing labor market shortages, drive innovation, and promote productivity growth. Employers in most EU member states already report more difficulty attracting and retaining talent than those in competing non-EU countries."

The report identifies three main channels through which Europe could be made more attractive for global talent, namely:

  • Adapting its labor migration channels to "ensure that talented foreigners can choose Europe over other destinations," and expanding the EU Blue Card by lowering the wage threshold, notably for youth, in addition to making it should be easier for people graduating in the EU to obtain a work permit in the EU;
  • Simplifying procedures and processes that are currently an obstacle to attracting and recruiting talented people, including simplifying the recognition of foreign qualifications, and putting in place a single application platform for labor migration; and
  • Reinforcing and promoting the single labor market to highly qualified third-country nationals.

Tags: European Commission | Training | Australia | Canada | New Zealand | United States | Employment | Expats | Europe | Work | North America





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