Europe: Brussels proposes to lighten the cost and paperwork for companies to attract skilled labor | International

The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, talks with Vice President Margaritis Schinas (on the left), the Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, and the head of budgets, Johannes Hahn (back to back).
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, talks with Vice President Margaritis Schinas (on the left), the Commissioner for the Economy, Paolo Gentiloni, and the head of budgets, Johannes Hahn (back to back).POOL (REUTERS)

The European Commission is committed to attracting a qualified workforce with professional skills in demand in Europe. The Community Executive intends to achieve this objective by streamlining the procedures and, consequently, also lowering the costs assumed by companies when hiring. To do this, it plans to approve a communication this Wednesday in which it proposes the reform of two directives that “have not fully complied with the objectives for which they were adopted”, according to the draft of the document that the College of Commissioners will see to which it has had access THE COUNTRY.

The proposal is part of one of the pending issues in Brussels, stalled by the great differences between the Member States. The body headed by Ursula von der Leyen seeks a new pact on migration and asylumin which “legal migration is an essential part,” the document states.

The changes that are proposed to the Council of the EU and the European Parliament in the current regulation go through a reform that “will rationalize the application procedure and make it more efficient.” The goal is to shorten it. Currently, explains the 26-page draft, the process can take up to three months and that “dissuades employers from international hiring.” This change affects the directive known as the “single application procedure”.

The other change is linked to the directive that regulates the granting of permanent or long-term residence permits. Specifically, all periods of legal stay in a country will be allowed to accumulate, regardless of the purpose for which it was granted. In other words, if a migrant from a country that is not a member of the EU arrived with a student permit and later with a work permit, both periods may be added together to access a long-term permit.

Formulas to attract talent

Along with the regulatory changes, the Commission also proposes formulas to “attract talent”, which is “one of the key aspects […] of the new migration and asylum pact”. These formulas “must combine direct support for mobility plans for work or training with skills development and investment in human capital, including skills development, education and vocational training.” The draft even points to countries where these tools should begin to be ready “by the end of 2022″: Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.

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Both measures seek to “increase the attractiveness of the EU”, facilitate the movement of labor through the different countries of the community club “and solve the shortage of labor in the EU”. Because if something is clear in the communication prepared by the departments headed by Vice President Margaritis Schinas and the Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Ylva Johansson, it is that Europe has a workforce problem, and that this problem will get worse in the future.

The document explains that now the Twenty-seven already have problems finding workers in 28 activities that employ 27 million workers. This situation is exacerbated in 19 of these activities, which correspond to plumbers, masons, carpenters, truck drivers, mechanics, electromechanics, computer and web application programmers, civil engineers, nurses, health assistants or medical specialists. However, it also points out that not all countries experience the situation with the same urgency, that this would be greater in France, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Holland or Ireland, among others.

And if that is the current scenario, things may worsen in the future due to the aging of European society. The Commission points out that, if the situation does not change in the coming decades, the percentage of the population of working age will approach 56%, with which the dependency ratio (ratio between those who are active in a society and those who are not, children and elderly) will worsen and therefore can weigh on the economy and productivity. Some countries such as Lithuania or Latvia are experiencing this process with particular intensity: between 2015 and 2019 they lost 7.1% and 6.3% of their working-age population, respectively.

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