EU states no longer attracting the brightest and best expat talent

Published:  16 Jun at 6 PM
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A recently released OECD report points out that legal labour regulation has resulted in a decline in the European Union’s share of the global talent pool.

According to the respected think tank, the European community is now facing an unprecedented humanitarian crisis requiring member states to come up with coordinated, bold solutions in order to preserve long-term competitiveness. Reforming its legal labor migration laws is essential to getting the region back at the top of the sustainable growth game.

Those emigrating to European Union states are less well-educated and younger than migrants to other OECD countries. Would-be expats heading for third-country states have higher qualifications, experience and professionalism, with 57 per cent of those surveyed favouring the USA against under a third preferring EU member states.

Although the EU is now the number one destination for international students according to the report, post-graduation retention of newly-qualified young people is poor. Estimates range from 30 per cent to as low as 16 per cent, with employers in the majority of EU countries reporting less success in attracting and keeping talented employees than their equivalents in non-EU countries.

The OECD report suggests three innovations aimed at making EU member states more attractive to prospective expat professionals. Easier immigration via expansion of the EU Blue Card, the lowering of its wage threshold and the easing of the work permit process would help attract and retain more graduates and higher-level professionals.

Other suggestions include simplifying the recognition of professional qualifications obtained outside the EU, constructing a single application platform dealing with all labour migration and reinforcing the entire single labour market with promotion to suitably qualified non-EU nationals. Put simply, attracting the right talent to EU countries should take priority over red tape and endless bureaucracy.
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