The Skills and Talent package: finally a step towards new regular migration avenues to the EU for low and medium skilled workers?

The proposals

The Commission has released on 27 April a proposal for legal migration initiatives, called ''the Skills and Talent package'', though it doesn't comprise strictly labour-related provisions. This package includes: 

1. A legislative pillar, through the revisions of two existing Directives: 

  • The revision of the Long-term Residents directive aims at simplifying the eligibility conditions to the status,  - notably by allowing periods of residence in different Member States to count towards the continuous residence period to be eligible. The proposal also aims at making the status more attractive, by enhancing the rights of long-term residents and their family members, notably with regards to family reunification criteria and facilitated intra-EU mobility. 

  • The revision of the Single Permit directive also aims at making the process easier, both for applicant workers and employers, and enhancing provisions regarding equal treatment of workers and protection from labour exploitation. First, it should allow applications to be lodged from non-EU countries. Second, the permit will no longer be linked to one employer only, enabling the holder to change employer without losing their work permit, thus reducing the vulnerability to labour exploitation. 


2. An operational pillar, through enhancing cooperation between Member States and with third countries, mainly by making concrete proposals for two initiatives announced in the Pact on Migration and Asylum: 


3. A so called ‘’forward-looking pillar’’: the Commission will continue to explore avenues for legal migration in particular related to three areas: care, youth and innovation. 

SOLIDAR's first reactions

SOLIDAR welcomes the announcement of this package, especially the much-needed proposals to recast the Single Permit Directive to enhance workers’ job mobility and protect them from labour exploitation. We recognize the proposal has taken into account some of the recommendations made by civil society in previous consultations as well as by the European Parliament. We also applaud the  reiterated commitment to facilitating the integration of beneficiaries from temporary protection in EU labour markets. 

Another thing worth noting is the Commission’s mention that it will ‘’look at how to better attract low and medium skilled workers needed in the EU labour market’’, mainly through the Talent Partnerships. This is something SOLIDAR, in line with Trade Unions and progressive civil society, has long advocated for. It is paramount that the Commission has recognized the essential role migrants play in the care sector, especially long-term care, but opening specific avenues for migration to specific sectors of EU economies should come with safeguards, as this often contributes to putting migrants in boxes. This is a particularly relevant caution to take for the care sector, already significantly composed by migrants and especially migrant women. The same prudence should be applied to the EU Talent Pool. 

SOLIDAR will analyze in depths all the above proposals, follow the negotiations on the legislative proposals, and monitor their implementation.