EU Commission presents plans to encourage legal migration – POLITICO

The EU Commission proposed this on Wednesday a new package of measures to strengthen the bloc’s approach to legal migration after some 5 million Ukrainian refugees have entered the EU since the Russian invasion.

The aim is not only to provide easier legal routes for migrants and reduce illegal migration, but also to address labor shortages, particularly in sectors such as healthcare. As for the Ukrainians who have come to the EU and who have been temporarily granted full rights by the bloc, the Commission proposal provides for a pilot project just for them.

On average, “between two and a half and three million legal migrants per year [arrive in] of the European Union…compared to 150,000 to 200,000 arriving irregularly,” said Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson as she unveiled the package at a press conference. “And we need them,” she added, because of labor shortages in many sectors. For example, according to the commissionUp to 7 million long-term care jobs are expected to be available by 2030 for health and care professionals.

The proposal aims to reform two pieces of existing legislation: the first change concerns the combined permit that allows migrants to work and obtain residence. The process for obtaining this permit will be streamlined and shortened, the commission said, as time delays can discourage employers from recruiting internationally.

The second reform concerns the long-term residence policy. So far this has been under-utilized and the new proposal would allow non-EU nationals to accumulate periods of residence in different member states to meet the 5-year residency criteria required for long-term residency and improve the right to family reunions.

The Commission’s plan also envisages setting up a so-called EU talent pool, an EU-wide platform to match employers with people who have skills they cannot find on the local job market.

It also envisages a pilot of the EU talent pool for Ukrainians only. There are also plans to set up ‘Talent Partnerships’ with non-EU countries to improve access to jobs and training, to prevent smuggling and also to work with countries on the return and readmission of illegal immigrants to improve. The first such partnerships are planned, particularly with North African countries Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt by the end of the year.

Legal migration is a shared competence between the EU and the Member States. The latest package of measures is part of an EU-wide reform of asylum rules that the Commission presented in September 2020 – the so-called migration pact – but that was not agreed amid deep divisions between member states. However, Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas, who also sat on the podium on Wednesday, said this package “does not necessarily” need to be adopted at the same time as the other proposals on the table.

Humanitarian organisations, employers’ organizations and many political parties and representatives of the center left and right welcomed the proposal. But at the same time, “we don’t expect this legal migration package to be the silver bullet to tackle irregular migration overall,” said Jeroen Lenaers, an MEP from the conservative European People’s Party, who also told POLITICO he liked many of the ideas in the package.

“Our best chance for a lasting solution is that the migration pact is already in the hands of the co-legislators and we expect progress from the member states,” he said. EU Commission presents plans to encourage legal migration - POLITICO

Fry Electronics Team

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