Executive summary

How can the European Union as a whole become more attractive for talented professionals who are looking for job opportunities worldwide? Is there scope for action at the EU-level to support employers, private and public stakeholders in each Member State to better leverage international recruitment into the Single Market for inclusive growth? To what extent could the Expression of Interest (EoI) model of skilled migration management offer inspiration for such action? What elements of the EoI model are most promising for adaptation in the European context? To address these questions, the European Commission asked the OECD to provide a comparative report on labour migration policies and the role of “Expression of Interest” models and matching mechanisms.

This report builds upon the reviews of labour migration policies and international employment matching practices in the EU and its Member States carried out by the OECD over the past decade. It presents a new overview of the obstacles that continue to hamper the attraction and recruitment of skills from third countries, and discusses the role of both public and private initiatives to help overcome these barriers. In this context, the report provides a comparative analysis of the Expression of Interest system of migration management as implemented in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and assesses its potential to address the needs of the European labour migration system.

Although the European legal migration framework could benefit from reforms underway and, possibly, from the targeted introduction of additional schemes, current entry and residence conditions for migrant workers are not the main obstacle to attracting skills from third countries. Frictions and imperfections in the international job matching process account for the bulk of the problem. Adaptation of the screening, pooling and matching elements of the EoI system may contribute to improve the quality of matching, ensure that the scale and depth of the European labour market are fully leveraged, and attract more talent. To meet these objectives, the report presents several options and variants for adapting the EoI, step by step and EU-wide. The report examines the feasibility, constraints and advantages of the different options and variants.

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