Legal migration options would reduce irregular flows and boost economy, say MEPs 

Press Releases 
  • Well-managed legal labour migration benefits both sending and receiving countries 
  • Call to member states to facilitate intra-EU mobility of third-country nationals with legal residence 
  • Develop an EU talent pool to match employers with prospective employees  

An EU framework for legal migration would encourage more orderly migration, attract much-needed workers to Europe, undermine smugglers and human traffickers, and ease integration.

In a draft report adopted with 53 votes to 14, the Civil Liberties Committee complains that legal migration has barely been part of the EU’s migration policy since 2015 and underline that the New Pact on Migration and Asylum does not include any specific proposals in this area.

““EU and national policy on legal migration should focus on responding to labour market and skills shortages”, MEPs argue, pointing to the ageing population and shrinking workforce. They ask to review and widen the legislation in place, as the current framework mostly covers employment in highly skilled or highly paid sectors and for multinational corporations, with only one directive (seasonal workers) targeted at lower-paid migration.

The text stresses the important role of remittances and the benefits that safe, regular and orderly migration has for both sending and receiving countries. Acknowledging the risk of “brain drain”, MEPs suggest promoting circular migration. For this purpose, the Commission should analyse the approach of other countries, such as a points-based system and expression-of-interest-based models.

An EU talent pool for third-country workers

According to the Civil Liberties Committee, the EU should gradually move from a sectoral and national approach and set broad rules on entry and residence for all third-country nationals seeking employment in Europe. Member states should also harmonise the rights granted to them and their families.

MEPs propose developing a talent pool and matching platform, covering all sectors and levels of employment, that would serve as a one-stop shop for non-EU workers, EU employers and national administrations. In order to respond better to labour needs or shortages of the national markets, it would manage skills supply and match it with the participating member states.

The report also recommends facilitating and speeding the assessment and recognition of diplomas, certificates and other professional qualifications. This would strengthen intra-EU mobility which, in turn, can contribute to labour market adjustments and overall economic growth across member states.


Sylvie Guillaume (S&D, FR), rapporteur, said: "We encourage the European Commission to take new and determinate actions in the area of legal migration. The revision of the Blue card for highly skilled workers is still ongoing, but the labour market in Europe needs other profiles too. The COVID-19 crisis for instance has clearly shown the lack of workers for the "care" sector. We need to harmonise the European legal migration policy and to establish organized, predictable and safe migration channels into the EU".

Next steps

Parliament as a whole is scheduled to discuss and vote on the draft non-legislative report during the May plenary session (17-20 May).