The population in Europe continues to age and the continent tries to modernise its economy to become greener and more digital. It has been experiencing significant labour shortages that have been getting worse over the past few decades.

FREMONT, CA: To reduce illegal immigration, Brussels wants to expand the legal routes that skilled migrants can use to enter the European Union, but experts question whether this will be sufficient. According to the Commission, between two and three million third-country nationals (TCNs) move to the EU each year for work or school, while up to 200,000 people enter the 27-nation bloc illegally.

However, Europe has a significant labour shortage that has been deteriorating. Over the past few decades and is anticipated to get worse as the population continues to age and the region works to modernise its economy to be more digital and green.

According to an assessment by the European Parliament, both high- and low-skilled jobs are experiencing a labour shortage. This is because less than one in five resident permits are issued for work-related purposes, and the majority of legitimate permits are done so for family reunification. While lowering irregular migration, legal migration is crucial to our economic recovery, the digital and green revolution, and building safe avenues to Europe.

The Commission's recommendations would allow non-EU residents who choose to settle in the EU to obtain long-term resident status after five years, regardless of whether they relocate between member states or change jobs, both of which now restart the clock. The measures also seek to accelerate processing timeframes, make family reunions easier, and expedite the process of acquiring a long-term work and residency visa directly from the countries of origin of prospective migrants.

To assist European businesses in finding qualified candidates, Brussels plans to establish a platform accessible to all members of the EU where non-EU citizens can publish their resumes. The platform should be operational by the summer of 2023, but the commission is hoping to launch a trial programme to help Ukrainian migrants integrate into the labour market by the summer of 2019. The invasion of Ukraine by Russia, which began on February 24, has drastically altered migration patterns throughout the EU. More than 5.5 million people, mostly women and children, from Ukraine have now sought shelter in nearby nations and other EU members.