Europe is facing an increasing labor shortage that affects many industries.
From manufacturing to healthcare and everything in between, employers seem unable to find qualified candidates in the local market.
There are many reasons why the labor shortage in Europe has become more prominent than ever before.
Many claim that Europe’s aging population is the main culprit.
However, the lack of skilled workers is also contributing to this ongoing problem.
Many jobs in Europe demand specific education and skills that are hard to come by.
“Skilled workforce is missing across Europe”, declared Gerhard Huemer, economic policy director at SMEUnited, in a conversation with Euractiv.
To facilitate labor migration, the EU has implemented a range of policies aimed at supporting migrant workers.
In this article, we explore how the EU encourages legal labor migration and contributes to the economic growth of Member States.
Blue Card Program
The EU Blue Card is a type of skilled worker visa designed to attract highly qualified non-EU nationals to work in the EU member states.
The program offers simplified application processes, making it easier for certain professionals to acquire work and residency rights in the EU.
The EU Blue Card is often granted to qualified individuals working in fields like science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
For more information about the EU Blue Card, please check out this article.
Single Permit Directive
The EU adopted the Single Permit Directive in 2011.
The directive streamlines the process for non-EU workers to obtain both a work and residence permit.
This procedure significantly reduces administrative burdens on both migrant workers and employers.
Additionally, the Single Permit Directive encourages labor migration by giving many non-EU workers the same rights as EU nationals.
The European Commission has recently presented a proposal for the recast of the Single Permit Directive.
Under this proposal, workers will have the right to switch employers without being tied to a particular one.
Seasonal Workers Directive
The EU is recognizing the importance of seasonal labor in agriculture, forestry, and other sectors.
That’s why it has established a Seasonal Workers Directive to protect the rights of seasonal workers.
This directive ensures fair working conditions, wages, and access to essential services for foreign nationals involved in temporary employment.
Additionally, the Seasonal Workers Directive simplified the process for these workers to return for seasonal employment in the EU in the following years.
Long-Term Resident Status
EU’s long-term resident status enables non-EU nationals to live and work in the EU for an indefinite period.
This initiative promotes legal labor migration and integration of foreign nationals.
As with the Single Permit Directive, the European Commission presented a proposal for the recast of the long-term resident status.
According to this proposal, foreign nationals will attain long-term residence status in three years, down from the previous five. Furthermore, the proposal aims to include refugees and disadvantaged groups, guaranteeing parity with EU citizens in terms of treatment.
Promoting Labor Migration in the EU
As shared above, the EU actively encourages and supports legal labor migration through a combination of directives and policies.
These initiatives aim to benefit both workers and host countries.
By providing pathways for migrant workers, protecting their rights, and promoting integration, the EU strives to create a more inclusive labor market for all.