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European Commission Representation in Cyprus
News article15 November 2023Representation in Cyprus7 min read

Commission proposes new measures on skills and talent to help address critical labour shortages

The Commission is today presenting a series of new initiatives in a Skills and Talent Mobility package to make the EU more attractive to talent from outside EU, and to facilitate mobility within.


The Commission is today presenting a series of new initiatives in a Skills and Talent Mobility package to make the EU more attractive to talent from outside EU, and to facilitate mobility within. Today's measures include a new EU Talent Pool to match employers in the EU with jobseekers in third countries as well as measures to promote the recognition of qualifications and learner's mobility.  They come as key deliverables of the European Year of Skills.

Skills shortages persist across the EU, in a range of sectors, and at various skills' levels.  The EU's drive to fill labour shortages in the EU starts at home: with relentless efforts to upskill, reskill and use the untapped potential of the EU's domestic workforce to the benefit of the single market. But to address the shortages the Member States are facing, the EU will also need to attract skills and talent from all around the world. For this approach to be successful, the EU must be able to attract talent and retain the needed talent. Developing labour migration cooperation with third country partners can also be a mutual gain, that feeds expertise and financial support back in the economy of the country of origin.

The following initiatives will support Member States in the global race for talent:

The EU Talent Pool – Making recruitment from outside the EU easier

The Commission is proposing to establish an EU Talent Pool to facilitate the recruitment of jobseekers from non-EU countries in EU-wide shortage occupations. It is an innovative measure, the first EU platform of this type, making international recruitment easier and faster, to help employers access a wider pool of skills and talent. Participation in the EU Talent Pool will be voluntary for Member States, who will support the management of the platform. It will also provide information on recruitment and migration procedures in the Member States and includes strong safeguards to ensure fair recruitment and working conditions.

The EU Talent Pool will additionally support the implementation of Talent Partnerships. These are tailor-made partnerships with non-EU countries, providing mobility for work or training. Jobseekers who have developed their skills under a Talent Partnership will receive a Talent Partnership Pass, visible to the participating employers, that certifies their qualifications. The opportunities for legal migration can be expected to disincentivise irregular migration and must go hand in hand with strengthened cooperation on readmission cooperation.  

Easier and faster recognition of qualifications gained in third countries

Facilitating the recognition of qualifications and validation of skills gained in non-EU countries is a key enabler for employers seeking skilled workers, and for third country nationals seeking access to the EU jobs' market, as well as their integration into host societies.

The Commission is recommending a set of measures to simplify and speed up the recognition of skills and qualifications of third country nationals. These measures would modernise the EU's current recognition system and bring it closer to the system established for EU nationals that move to another Member State.

The aim is to develop the capacity of national recognition authorities to simplify and expedite procedures by improving comparability of third country qualifications and of how to assess jobseekers' skills. This will allow for recognition decisions to be taken quickly and with confidence to fill vacancies in EU shortage occupations, in particular in priority regulated professions.

Making learning mobility an opportunity for everybody

The proposed Council Recommendation ‘Europe on the move – learning mobility opportunities for everyone' aims to boost mobility in all areas of education and training. It invites Member States to make learning mobility within the EU an integral part of all education and training pathways, from school education and vocational education and training, notably apprenticeships, to higher and adult education and youth exchanges.

The Commission proposes to set new ambitious goals for 2030: increasing the share of mobility experience to at least 25% for higher education graduates, at least 20% for learners with fewer opportunities, and at least 15% for vocational learners. The proposal also promotes the attractiveness of the EU as a learning destination for talent from third countries, in line with the geopolitical dimension of the European Education Area. It builds on the concrete recommendations formulated by the dedicated European Citizens' Panel. The proposal includes a commitment by the Commission to monitor and support Member States in developing national action plans for the concrete implementation of the goals.

Next Steps

The Commission's proposal for an EU Talent Pool will now be negotiated by the European Parliament and the Council. The Commission will support Member States' implementation of the Recommendation on recognition of qualifications of third country nationals, and invite them to report on national initiatives, reforms, good practices and statistics. The Recommendation ‘Europe on the Move' will be submitted to the Council for its consideration and adoption.


The EU faces persistent labour shortages in a variety of sectors at all skill levels. The unemployment rate remains low (6.0% in September 2023), and the job vacancy rate rose to 2.9% last year – more than double the level of 2012. Demographic change will exacerbate labour market challenges. The working age population will decline from 265 million in 2022 to 258 million in 2030 in the EU. Without concerted action, the current trends can undermine the green and digital transitions, dampen the EU's competitiveness, and weaken public services in areas already facing a shortfall of workers, such as healthcare and long-term care.

International job matching remains complex and costly for both non-EU nationals and employers. Employers' lack of understanding and trust in skills and qualifications gained in third countries is a significant barrier to talent and skills mobility. This not only affects the EU's attractiveness but leads to ‘brain waste' – with third country nationals often working below their qualification level.

While learning mobility is a highly valuable experience for people in gaining knowledge and skills needed for personal, educational, and professional development, and for civic engagement and social inclusion, the share of Europeans participating in a learning activity in a country other than their own is still low.

The talent mobility package follows up on President von der Leyen's 2022 State of the Union address, which highlighted challenges linked to the recognition of qualifications of third country nationals that are often a practical disincentive for legal migration. It builds on work under way with the Skills and Talent package, the New Pact on Migration and Asylum and contributes to the current European Year of Skills with its focus on a strategic approach to solving labour and skills shortages.

For More Information


Questions & Answers

Communication on skills and talent mobility

Proposal for a Regulation on the establishment of an EU Talent Pool

Recommendation on recognition of third country nationals qualifications

Proposal for a Council Recommendation on learning mobility framework

Factsheet: European Citizens' Panel on learning mobility


With skills at a premium worldwide, the EU’s future competitiveness will be determined by our industry’s capacity to staff its businesses. Our drive to fill labour market gaps has to start at home, with robust measures to support the domestic workforce. But labour migration can be an important complementary means of filling persistent gaps. The new EU Talent Pool will be a game-changer: the first EU-wide platform matching employers in the EU directly with jobseekers of all skills levels, all around the world.

Margaritis Schinas, Vice-President for Promoting our European Way of Life - 15/11/2023


Improving legal pathways is an essential part of the EU’s comprehensive approach to migration set out in the Pact on Migration and Asylum. By facilitating international recruitment, the EU Talent Pool will enable jobseekers from non-EU countries to find a job in the EU, and at the same time help EU employers to find the talent and skills they need. This will further complement our efforts to make the EU more attractive as a destination for talent, as announced in the Skills and Talent Package.

Ylva Johansson, Commissioner for Home Affairs - 15/11/2023


We believe in a future where the opportunity to learn abroad is not a privilege but a standard option available to everyone. This is why the ‘Europe on the move’ initiative opens the doors to learning mobility for students, teachers and apprentices, and sets ambitious new goals. This is a key building block of the European Education Area, where learners and knowledge circulate freely.

Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth - 15/11/2023


With the green and digital transformation of our economies, many companies in Europe struggle to find skilled workforce such as software developers or civil engineers. We have come a long way in upskilling and reskilling workers in the EU Single Market. In parallel, we need to continue attracting skills and talent from all around the world, which this Recommendation will facilitate.

Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market - 15/11/2023


Publication date
15 November 2023
Representation in Cyprus