GMPA: Global Migration Policy Associates

Migration Topics

Labour and Skills
(Research papers and policy briefs below)

Migration today is first and foremost about international labour and skills mobility. Most adult migrants, women and men, of working age are economically active. The ILO estimated that some 105 million of the 214 million persons living outside their country of birth or citizenship for more than a year in 2010 were economically active, that is to say employed, self-employed or otherwise engaged in remunerative activity. These figures significantly understate migrant labour since they do not account for short-term temporary or seasonal migrants who go by the thousands - often tens of thousands - from their homelands to usually nearby countries for a few months each year.

A main concern for many countries is maintaining labour force and skills profiles needed for productive labour markets and healthy, competitive economies. Ageing work forces, expanding skills needs unmet by native schooling and supply, and declining population numbers mean more and more countries require immigrant skills and labour - not necessarily as the only solution, but certainly as an important means of addressing these challenges.

In all regions of the world, evolving technologies, industrial transformations and restructuring of work itself, along with demographic trends already pose huge challenges. Meeting these challenges requires expanding and renovating schooling, vocational training, and higher education almost everywhere; it also requires international recognition of qualifications. At the same time, the international community needs to be sensitive to issues of brain drain - the exodus of skills from developing countries to developed nations, and brain waste where qualified migrants do not secure jobs commensurate with their skills.

Measuring labour and skills demands, facilitating access to foreigners to meet demands, recognizing qualifications, and ensuring effective jobs-skills matching are fundamental contemporary challenges faced by many countries worldwide. However, much work is needed to determine effective modalities, mechanisms, regulatory measures and policy parameters to facilitate increased international skills and labour mobility. GMPA Associates are involved in a number of processes and projects working to find solutions for these e increasing challenges of today and tomorrow.


Focal Point Contacts

Piyasiri Wickramasekara

Jana Costachi


Documents and Papers