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The War for Talent

Immigration considerations

The “war for talent" generally refers to the competitive nature of attracting and retaining skilled and talented employees in the job market. It is often used to describe the intense competition among organizations to recruit and retain the best employees.

The War for Talent – State of Play

The EU has a shrinking and aging population. The size of the working age population is set to shrink to only 55% by the year 2070. Attracting talent from abroad is needed to counter these predictions and to replenish already existing shortages in the labor market sectors such as tourism, hospitality, IT and health care.

The war for talent has been accelerated by the COVID-19 crisis and the associated lockdowns, causing additional shortages on the European labor market, increasing the relevancy of winning the war for talent. The pandemic has actively changed the needs of employees. Employees are actively seeking a more flexible working environment and a better work life balance. Additionally, climate change is more frequently considered by talented individuals in choosing their career path and employees are looking to pursue more environmentally friendly careers.

Overall, the war for talent presents both challenges and opportunities for companies. Organizations that effectively navigate this competition by adopting robust talent acquisition and retention strategies are more likely to thrive and succeed in today's highly competitive job market.

The War for Talent – Impact of EU Immigration policy

According to the Database on Immigrants in Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Countries, only one out of every four highly educated migrants living in the OECD chose an EU destination, while nearly two out of every three chose to live in North America or Oceania.

The European institutions are aware of the challenges that companies face to attract and retain talent from abroad. To counter the current trend and stay competitive on a global scale in the war for talent, the EU is taking several actions:

1) Reform of the EU Blue Card Directive

The reform of the EU Blue Card Directive has aimed to have more flexible requirements for highly skilled employees and add more benefits to applying for an EU Blue Card.

The minimum salary and minimum duration of the employment are reduced. New rules are to facilitate the recognition of professional skills for occupations in the information and communication technologies sector. Furthermore, applicants with professional experience equivalent to a higher education qualification will be able to apply for the EU Blue Card in some specific sectors. Highly skilled beneficiaries of international protection will be allowed to apply for the EU Blue Card. Decisions on application must be taken within 60 days.Employees can work for up to 90 days in another EU Member State without an additional work authorization and it will be easier for employees to move to another EU member state after 12 months of employment. The family members of an EU Blue Card holder will also be allowed to access the labor market.

2) Revision of the long-term residence directive and single permit directive

For a substantial portion of the third-country employees legally staying in the EU, the Long-Term Residents Directive and the Single Permit Directive establish the basis for the procedures and entitlements. An actual right to mobility inside the EU is not provided under the Long-Term Residents Directive. The Single Permit Directive's goal of streamlining the admissions process for all workers for non-EU nations has not been fully met. For these reasons, the Commission is recommending that the two Directives be completely rewritten. The major goals are to lower costs and administrative burdens for businesses, stop labor exploitation, and facilitate the continued integration and mobility of non-EU nations who are already living and working in the EU.

3) EU talent pool

The EU Talent Pool serves as an EU-wide platform for international recruitment of third-country nationals. It aims to improve Europe's capacity to attract talent with in-demand skills. Skilled non-EU employees might declare their interest in immigrating to the EU using this EU-wide platform for international recruiting, and EU migration authorities and businesses could identify them based on their needs. A first pilot initiative is already launched to help Ukrainian refugees secure employment within the EU.

4) Talent partnerships

The Talent Partnerships were announced in the Pact on Migration and Asylum with the aim of enhancing legal pathways to the EU, while engaging non-EU partner countries strategically on migration management. The purpose of these partnerships is to support the boost of mutually beneficial international mobility based on better matching of labor market needs and skills between the EU and partner countries. They will be open to students, graduates and skilled workers.

Local initiatives

While the implementation of EU-wide rules on immigration takes a long time, several EU member states have launched, or are about to launch new immigration rules, aiming to attract third country workers who possess skills that are lacking on their local labor market. These rules would either grant them automatic access to the labor market when they can prove a specific skillset or education (without a binding job offer) or allow their employer (with a binding job offer) to obtain permits through a shortened or easier immigration process.

What can Deloitte do for you?

EU and local immigration rules can be complex. Our Belgian & Dutch immigration teams are up-to-date with the latest EU and local regulations and are keen to provide guidance and strategic advice on how to successfully navigate the different rules.

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