Maximizing the Shared Benefits of Legal Migration Pathways: Lessons from Germany’s Skills Partnerships

The world is experiencing significant demographic shifts. By 2100, Europe’s working-age population will have declined, and sub-Saharan Africa’s working-age population will have greatly increased. Many of these new labor market entrants will seek opportunities in Europe, plugging skill gaps and contributing to economies in their countries of destination. Germany is one country piloting and implementing projects that can help alleviate such demographic pressures and maximize the potential mutual benefits of legal labor migration. We discuss these projects, and highlight differences in their potential impact on development in the country of origin. We recommend that European governments build on, adapt, and pilot-test one of Germany’s approaches, also known as the Global Skill Partnership model: training potential migrants in their countries of origin before migration, along with non-migrants. Ideally, governments should pursue such pilot-tests with those countries that exhibit rising future migration pressure to Europe, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. Neither the conclusion nor the results of this analysis reflect the opinion of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) or Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ).

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