Brussels, 7 May 2021 | Since March 2019, Enabel has been running a pilot project in Morocco and Belgium, funded by the European Union. The Belgian development agency tested an innovative labour mobility model linking the development of the ICT sector in Morocco to the shortage of qualified IT specialists in Belgium and Morocco. After two years, the European Union confirms its support for this model through a subsequent talent mobility project between Belgium, Tunisia and Morocco, implemented by Enabel.
This “Global Skills Partnership” model is based on the assumption that labour mobility can only benefit the parties when talents are able to find a qualified job both in their country of origin and in the country of destination.
The ‘Pilot Project Addressing Labour Shortages through Innovative Labour Migration Models’ (PALIM) ran from 1 March 2019 to 30 April 2021. The project’s budget amounted to 1.5 million euros, and was funded by the European Union. It was implemented by the Belgian development agency Enabel, in partnership with the Flemish employment and vocational training service (VDAB), the Moroccan National Agency for the Promotion of Employment and Competences (ANAPEC), the Flemish employers federations (VOKA), the General Confederation of Enterprises of Morocco (CGEM), the Belgian Federation for the Technology Industry (AGORIA) and the Moroccan Federation of Information Technology, Telecommunications and Offshoring (APEBI).
Almost 10,000 applicants responded to an ICT (re)skilling call launched by ANAPEC. 120 of them were selected. They originated from all parts of Morocco; 18% of them were women. In Morocco, they completed a seven-month intensive training course (ICT, soft skills and English classes as well as information on life in Belgium) and they were put in contact with companies in Morocco and in Belgium. At the end of the project, more than half of these talents found employment in Morocco (employment contract, self-employment or internship with a view on employment) while others chose to further hone their ICT skills through specialised training. International mobility to Belgium has been interrupted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but will be relaunched provided the pandemic is over.
This innovative initiative is one of the regular migration pilot projects financed via the Mobility Partnership Facility, which is managed by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD). The model brought together a broad range of actors; Moroccan and Belgian employment agencies learned to work together and an academic action-research component was incorporated into the project through a partnership with the University of Ghent and UCLouvain. Action-research has allowed the project and its partners to better understand labour mobility mechanisms and challenges.
The experience acquired in the PALIM project by Enabel and its partners is capitalised upon in the "THAMM” programme “Towards a Holistic Approach to Labour Migration Governance and Labour Mobility in North Africa". This 30 million euro multi-actor programme financed by the European Union is implemented by the IOM, ILO, GIZ, OFII and Enabel. The 3-year 5 million euro THAMM-Enabel component develops mobility schemes using the same approach as PALIM, but in three countries (Belgium, Morocco and Tunisia) and for other highly-sought-after professions.