The Commission is today presenting a series of new initiatives under a talent and skills mobility package to make the EU more attractive to talent from third countries and to facilitate mobility within it. The measures presented today include a new European talent pool, which aims to connect EU employers with jobseekers in third countries, as well as measures to promote the recognition of qualifications and the mobility of learners. These measures are the main results of the European Year of Skills.

Skills shortages persist across the EU, across sectors and at different skill levels. The EU’s will to fill labor shortages within itself is manifested in the continuous efforts to upskill, reskill and exploit the untapped potential of the EU’s domestic workforce for the benefit of the single market. But to address the shortfalls identified in member states, the EU will also need to attract skills and talent from around the world. For this approach to be successful, the EU must be able to attract and retain the talent it needs. Developing cooperation in the field of labor migration with third partner countries can also be beneficial for these countries, as it feeds expertise and supports the economy of the home country.

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

EU talent pool — Facilitate recruitment from non-EU countries

The Commission is proposing the creation of a European talent pool to facilitate the recruitment of third-country jobseekers in occupations with labor shortages across the EU. This is an innovative measure, the first platform of its kind in the EU, which facilitates and accelerates international recruitment, with the aim of providing employers with access to a wider pool of skills and talent. Participation in the EU talent pool will be optional for Member States, which will support the management of the platform. The platform will also provide information on recruitment and immigration procedures in Member States and include strong safeguards to guarantee fair recruitment and working conditions.

The EU talent pool will also support the creation of partnerships to attract talent. These are tailored partnerships with third countries, which ensure mobility for work or training. Jobseekers who have developed their skills within such a partnership will receive a ‘partnership card’, visible to participating employers, certifying their qualifications. Possibilities for legal migration are expected to discourage irregular migration and must go hand in hand with strengthening cooperation in the area of ​​readmission.

Easier and faster recognition of qualifications obtained in third countries

Facilitating the recognition of qualifications and the validation of skills acquired in third countries is a key enabler for employers looking for skilled workers, as well as for third-country nationals looking for access to the EU labor market and their integration into societies reception.

The Commission recommends a package of measures to simplify and speed up the recognition of skills and qualifications of third-country nationals. These measures will modernize the current EU identification system and bring it closer to the system in place for EU nationals moving to another Member State.

The aim is to develop the capacity of national recognition authorities to simplify and speed up procedures, improving the comparability of third country qualifications and the way jobseekers’ skills are assessed. This will enable rapid and reliable recognition decisions to be made to fill vacancies in occupations identified as lacking in the EU, in particular in statutory priority occupations.

Learning mobility can become an opportunity for everyone

The proposed Council Recommendation “Europe on the move — learning mobility opportunities for all” aims to stimulate mobility in all areas of education and training. Calls on 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, in particular apprenticeships, to higher education and adult education, as well as exchanges of young people.

The Commission proposes to set new ambitious targets for 2030: increasing the rate of mobility experience to at least 25% for tertiary 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 is based on the specific recommendations made by the European Citizens Group. The proposal includes a commitment by the Commission to monitor and support Member States in the development of national action plans for the concrete implementation of the objectives.

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 the recognition of professional qualifications of third-country nationals and invite them to report on national initiatives, reforms, good practices and statistics. The Europe on the Move recommendation will be submitted to the Council for consideration and approval.


The EU faces persistent labor shortages in various 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 doubling from 2012 levels. Demographic change will exacerbate market challenges work. The working-age population in the EU will fall from 265 million in 2022 to 258 million in 2030. Without concerted action, current trends can undermine the green and digital transition, limit EU competitiveness and weaken public services in sectors already experiencing labor shortages, such as health care and long-term care.

Matching labor supply and demand internationally remains complex and costly for both third-country nationals and employers. Employers’ lack of understanding and confidence in skills and qualifications acquired in third countries is a major barrier to the mobility of talent and skills. This situation not only affects the attractiveness of the EU, but also leads to a ‘brain drain’, as third-country nationals are often employed in positions below their qualification level.

While learning mobility is a valuable experience for acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for personal, educational and professional development, as well as for civic participation and social inclusion, the proportion of Europeans participating in a learning activity in country other than their own.

The talent mobility package follows on from President von der Leyen’s 2022 State of the Union address, which highlighted the challenges of recognizing the qualifications of third-country nationals, which are often a de facto disincentive for legal immigration. It builds on ongoing work under the Skills and Talents Package, the New Deal on Migration and Asylum, and contributes to the current European Year of Skills by emphasizing a strategic approach to tackling workforce and skills shortages.

George Fellidis