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Facilitating skilled migration for displaced talent to respond to labour market shortages 


Across Europe, employers are struggling to find the skills they need in the local labour market. In Belgium, public institutions such as VDAB emphasize that the labour market is in a phase of structural shortage. This is due to the natural evolution of the working age population. For every 100 people that will exit the active population in the coming years, only 81 people will enter the labour market after their studies. As labour market shortages continue to pose a challenge to businesses across various industries, many are turning to alternative solutions to find skilled workers. A growing number of countries are opening economic migration pathways as one of the many solutions to address labour market shortages.

Globally, there are over 110 million displaced persons living in places where they do not have full working rights. The term “displaced persons” refers to individuals who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, situations of generalized violence, and/or violations of human rights and who are in need of international protection. Many of these individuals have skills and qualifications that are valuable to employers, but face barriers to employment due to their displacement status.

The good news is that with the right support and resources, displaced talent can be successfully integrated into the EU labour market, providing solutions to skills shortages and benefiting both employers and displaced individuals. This win-win situation or pathway is called Displaced Talent Mobility.

Historically, skilled migration pathways have almost been impossible to access for displaced talents. However, this is now changing. Countries are exploring the possibility to open legal labour pathways to welcome skilled people in need of international protection. In this respect, European countries have an opportunity to pioneer a new labour mobility scheme by developing a complementary pathway for displaced people in need of international protection.

DT4E sets the foundations for an innovative legal labour pathway for displaced talent by enabling displaced people in need of international protection in Jordan and Lebanon to connect with employers in Europe and sustainably integrate into the labour market in Belgium, as well as in Ireland, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. In doing so, DT4E provides employers with access to an untapped international talent pool of almost 80.000 profiles. These talents not only bring competences to the table, but also unique perspectives, diverse experiences, and a strong work ethic. Moreover, this skilled mobility pathway is driven by employers’ needs and is therefore relevant to all sectors that are short in labour.

The Displaced Talent for Europe (DT4E) facilitates the identification of skilled displaced talents in Jordan and Lebanon and enables their recruitment by employers in Belgium, Ireland, Portugal and the United Kingdom.

To make displaced talent mobility a viable solution, governments, employers, and civil society organizations must work together to provide the necessary support and resources. In the framework of DT4E, IOM Belgium & Luxembourg is working with Talent Beyond Boundaries (TBB), Fedasil and Alto Commissariado para as Migrações , and receives support from the immigration law firm Fragomen.

At IOM we believe that finding new ways to address talent shortages is an economic necessity. The global refugee population, which has skills and experience, can be part of the solution. Removing obstacles to access the labour market is beneficial for everyone involved: refugees, businesses, host communities and the economy. Displaced talent mobility is not hypothetical, it is happening. In countries such as the UK, Canada and Australia displaced talent mobility has proven to be a real solution!

The DT4E project counts on a vast network of private sector organizations such as chambers of commerce, business associations or sector federations, such as Voka in Belgium. Higher education structures like Zorgnet Icuro also play an important role in the project. Through IOM, DT4E enjoys strong relationships with governments and public employment agencies in the destination countries, including VDAB in Belgium.

Recruitment process through DT4E in Belgiumprocess BEMeet the DT4E Talents!


Hiring displaced talent as a Belgian employer - FAQ

Which type of visa is used in DT4E?

DT4E uses the single permit visa: the single permit combines the residence and work permits and is limited to highly skilled talents and bottleneck professions. The single permit application needs to be submitted by the employer. DT4E will guide and assist the employer throughout the whole procedure. Once the application is accepted, the talent will receive a single permit allowing them to reside and work in the country for more than 90 days.

How long does the procedure take?

The recruitment and matching phase will take up to 3 months. The entire process from job posting to actual first working day will vary from case to case, depending on visa processing times (usually up to 6 months).

What are the costs for employers?

The employer is required to cover for:

Fixed costs:

  • Visa (single permit)
  • One-way flight ticket to Belgium
  • Salary according to national legislation

Variable/optional costs

  • Temporary housing (up to 3 months)*
  • Language training
  • Additional (technical) training

*If possible, DT4E asks the employer to provide up to 3 months of temporary accommodation for the talent. Finding quality housing is difficult for a variety of reasons, so offering temporary accommodation will help ensure a smooth landing in Belgium for the talent.

Does the employer cover the cost for travel for the family members as well?

This is to be discussed with the talent and decided on a case-by-case basis - if the employers have the financial capacity to do so, DT4E highly encourages this.

What are the obligations and commitment that the employer undergoes?

The employer should be committed and transparent throughout the entire procedure. Close cooperation with the DT4E team is required during the entire recruitment process, as well as up to a year after the talent has started working (for example to answer monitoring surveys).

What if the talent decides to stop the process during pre-departure phase?

From experience (similar pathway created in the UK), this has never happened voluntarily. Talents from the Talent Catalog are highly motivated, and the DT4E team invests in expectation management by carefully informing them about the procedure and related timeline. In the sourcing phase DT4E also makes sure that talents are still available and that they are genuinely interested in the job opportunity.

What if the talent quits after several months in the job?

DT4E is much like any other international hiring process, and the same risks apply. Because of the high competitivity on the labour market, DT4E strongly encourages employers to invest in onboarding and integration services and to properly prepare for the arrival of the new recruit, to ensure retention. The DT4E team can assure that the talents taking part in this programme are highly driven, duly informed, and motivated. Moreover, talents hired in the UK through Talent Beyond Boundaries via similar projects have a 94% retention rate with their sponsoring employer.

How are talents prepared for the journey?

The talents follow a three-day pre-departure orientation (PDO) course organized by Fedasil and IOM. In order to address integration aspects at the earliest possible stage of the journey, the PDO sessions help displaced talents to develop practical skills and attitudes that will facilitate their integration in Belgium. The PDO includes 5 modules: exploring Belgium, living in Belgium, settling in Belgium, preparation and travel, and studying and working in Belgium. The last module on studying and working in Belgium includes a brief introduction to intercultural competences and soft skills, to facilitate the talent's adaptation to a new working environment and the Belgian working culture.

On top of that, talents are assisted with the logistical preparation of their relocation (medical checks, travel bookings, visa applications, etc.), and additional training (e.g., language lessons) required for the job can be arranged upon request.

What does the post-arrival orientation from the DT4E team include?

To assist talents in settling in and integrating, IOM and Fedasil offer post-arrival orientation training sessions (one or multiple days). The post-arrival orientation sessions will revolve around the topics of working, living, and integrating in Belgium, with the exact focus to be defined based on the needs of the talents. In addition, more in-depth trainings on intercultural competences, soft skills and adapting to a new work environment could be organized upon request. IOM and its partners also help talents with administrative processes, such as registering with the municipality of residence. Likewise, DT4E encourages companies to monitor these procedures, offer assistance with onboarding, coaching, mentorship, and buddy programs (where available), as well as additional technical and language training. DT4E enjoys strong relationships with governments' integration services and public employment agencies.

Will the talent be followed-up in the best possible way?

DT4E will ensure that talents have access to the needed psychosocial, legal, administrative and medical support services/ During job placement, a monitoring process is implemented, and regular surveys are conducted to assess the satisfaction of both the talent and the employer. Additional meetings ca be arranged based on the needs expressed by the talents or employers to address any challenges promptly. The follow-up will maximize the chances of durable integration, job placement and retention of each talent.

What support is available for employers?

Employers are assisted throughout the whole process- from sourcing and matching, through the visa processing, up until the post-arrival phase. With the support of the international law firm Fragomen, DT4E provides employers with all necessary information for filing the single permit application. Individualized, tailored support can also be provided upon request and for an additional fee. In addition, employers can also benefit from preparatory trainings adapted to their needs, including in particular on intercultural competences and diversity management in the workplace, and ethical recruitment. See the next question for more information and feel free to contact us directly in case of interest.

Which training modules are available for employers?

New IOM offers introductory trainings for employers on intercultural competences, diversity management in the workplace, and ethical recruitment. The training modules are available for companies hiring through the DT4E project as well as for employers that are interested in furthering diversity and inclusion in their organization. The following modules are available and can be adapted to the needs and requirements of employers upon request:

  • Intercultural competences and communication
  • Unconscious bias and discrimination
  • How to create an inclusive workplace
  • Key elements of diversity management
  • IRIS standards on ethical recruitment

Feel free to contact IOM directly in case of interest.



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