Margaritis Schinas, the first Greek Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for Promoting the European Way of Life, is set to embark on an official visit to Australia, including Melbourne, in the coming days.

The visit stems from Schinas’s contemplation, as expressed in his article on titled “Review of labour migration: What Europe needs now,” questioning why countries like New Zealand, Australia, the US, and Canada surpass EU nations as preferred destinations for global jobseekers.

In his article, Schinas highlights the challenges within the EU job market, stating, “In Estonia, there is a shortage of welders. In the Netherlands, there are not enough engineers. The construction sector in Portugal is facing a shortage of workers. Across the EU, employers grapple with significant and persistent skills and labor shortages.”

He stresses the expected exacerbation of this situation, underscoring the potential creation of 1 to 2.5 million new jobs by 2030 due to Europe’s green transition.

Schinas also acknowledges the unprecedented high employment rates in the EU but points out that the job vacancy rate has doubled over the past decade, reaching an average of 2.9 per cent in 2022. Austria, with an almost 5 per cent vacancy rate last year, exemplifies the need for Europe to seek labor beyond its borders to remain competitive.

Addressing the complexity of EU rules on legal migration and their focus on highly skilled migrants, Schinas advocates for making Europe a more attractive destination for global talent.

He draws attention to the success of Australia, New Zealand, the US, and Canada, suggesting that the EU can develop a similarly dynamic labor market. As part of the solution, Schinas introduces the concept of an “EU talent pool,” a matching system connecting EU employers with job seekers globally, covering various skill levels and occupations facing shortages.

Schinas concludes with a sense of urgency, stating that targeted labor migration to the EU is crucial for meeting the ambitions of the green and digital transition, as well as fulfilling more straightforward goals such as adequately staffing retirement homes.

The Vice-President plans to discuss these matters in detail during his visit to Australia, engaging in high-profile meetings with Australian officials.