Pakistan, EU to facilitate legal migration for skilled workforce

Zubair Qureshi

Pakistan and the European Union on Monday announced the launch of a comprehensive dialogue on migration and mobility during the two-day visit of a senior EU official to Islamabad.

European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, agreed to strengthen cooperation in migration-related areas which includes facilitating the skilled Pakistani workforce in the EU.

The dialogue will cover all aspects of migration management including legal pathways for migration to Europe and addressing irregular migration and migrant smuggling and, continued enhanced cooperation on return, readmission, and reintegration, through the full and effective implementation of the Pakistan-EU readmission agreement.

The EU commissioner and the State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar discussed possibilities for legal and safe pathways of migration to Europe. They agreed to intensify preparations for the launch of a ‘Talent Partnership’ to facilitate working and living in interested EU Member States for suitably qualified Pakistani nationals.

The launch of dialogue on migration and mobility will facilitate legal pathways of migration and broaden cooperation between the EU and Pakistan, Johansson said during a joint press conference in Islamabad. The European Union’s “aging society” needs a young, skilled workforce, she said, adding that Pakistan is “well-prepared to become a strong partner on legal migration.”

Hina Rabbani welcomed the EU’s commitment to legal migration. This will help “minimize the possibility of illegal migration and at the same time open doors for legal migration for the talent pool that exists in Pakistan”, especially in the IT sector, she said.

Pakistan would work with the EU to ensure language courses and skill training for Pakistani nationals to live and work in Europe.The Commissioner visited Peshawar, where she exchanged views with the Frontier Corps and the Federal Investigation Agency. She was briefed about fight against the terrorism and against organised crime and on border management activities.

Commissioner Johansson agreed with the Minister of State that the first EU-Pakistan counterterrorism dialogue since 2018 would be held in the beginning of 2023 in Islamabad.

A broad exchange of views on migration and Afghan refugees with several UN agencies completed the Commissioner’s first visit to Pakistan.

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