Both sides agree to facilitate legal migration for skilled Pakistani workforce
Islamabad: Pakistan and 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 Pakistan’s 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 encompass 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 Pakistani minister 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. 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 Khar 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 that language courses and skill training for Pakistani nationals to live and work in Europe.
“Pakistan possesses a large pool of readily available skilled areas in many areas. About 65% of our population is below the age of 35. There are very talented people in IT, healthcare and software engineering in other areas” which makes the country well-placed to provide a skilled workforce to the EU, Khar said.
During her two-day visit, the EU official held discussions with federal ministers and secretaries of the interior ministry, overseas and human resource development, and education and professional training. Pakistani and EU officials agreed to intensify the concrete bilateral cooperation in security, including counterterrorism and fighting criminal networks, including the fight against the smuggling of migrants. The first EU-Pakistan counterterrorism dialogue since 2018 will be held at the beginning of 2023 in Islamabad.
She also visited Peshawar, where she exchanged views with the Frontier Corps (FC) and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and was briefed on the fight against terrorism and organised crime and on border management activities. She commended the border management practices of Pakistani authorities as well as sophisticated counter-terrorism strategies. These efforts “illustrate the responsible approach of Pakistan as an influential actor and its leading presence in the region” she said.
EU Commissioner Johansson thanked Pakistan for their generosity in hosting 3 million Afghans, 1.3 million of whom are refugees. “It is a continental solidarity that the European Union has recently experienced, with the hosting of 4.5 million Ukrainian refugees this year.”

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