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Talent Partnerships – Attracting International Talent in Europe

Publication: ZRVP

The European Commission has recently launched its latest socio-economic initiative that would legally manage migration from several third countries, intending to better frame the external dimension of the EU migration policy. Such initiative should attract talent, strengthen partnerships on migration with third countries and fill in skill gaps in the labor market. Talent Partnerships will be open to students, graduates, and skilled workers.

The initiative “Talent Partnerships” is part of the EU toolbox, designed as a legal framework that should enable Member States to engage with selected third countries on legal migration. Many advantages are expected to emerge from such initiatives, among which addressing labor market demands and creating a legal path for third countries skilled immigrants.

The basic aim of Talent Partnerships is to describe a comprehensive scheme that enables smoother cooperation between Member States and third countries, which could be adapted depending on the skill needs of each Member State, thus creating a stronger bond between such partners.

While encouraging such strategic intercountry cooperation promotes the migration of third country nationals to the EU, for work, study, or training, it should also be considered as a tool which would decrease black market labor transactions. Legalized labor relationships would also be to the benefit of the worker himself, ensuring proper protection of rights.

However, while the technical set-up of each cooperation could particularly differ, the Talent Partnership program imposes participation of multiple actors in both the EU Member State involved and the sending third country.

Along multiple opportunities envisaged by such partnerships, several challenges are expected on the way, mainly determined by the Member States’ freedom to tailor their own relationships with third parties. Such projects essentially depend on the Member States’ interest in investing in larger, long-term projects on legal migration.

Designed to enhance economic development and achieve a stronger network of private and public actors, Talent Partnerships should help EU countries attract workers across all skill levels. Moreover, the pandemic context highlights the need for a migration policy which would come as a response for emerging shortages, by allowing non-EU nationals to be absorbed by the European labor market.

Providing safe and legal pathways is a priority for the Commission and together with efforts to address the root causes of irregular migration, such as fighting smuggling, supporting refugee populations, and providing funding for migration management infrastructure, Talent Partnerships will provide opportunities for people to live and work legally in the EU.

Each Member State is expected to make proposals on the Talent Partnerships’ strategical set-up, as presented by the Commission. At this stage, stakeholders could highlight potential practical inaccuracies.

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