In 2017, the global population of forcibly displaced people increased to 68.5 million, compared with 65.6 million in 2016. Among these, 25.4 million were refugees.

Most refugees live in developing countries of asylum, struggling to prove themselves in economies which are unable to absorb and make full use of their labour market potential. In the EU context, refugees also often find themselves in countries of asylum that offer limited opportunities for using their talents. As a result, refugees’ skills often remain unused and become obsolete over time, while countries facing skills shortages could benefit from inflows of additional skilled labour.

Countries admitting refugees from main countries of asylum through skills-based complementary pathways may help address a pressing need for fairly shared responsibility, meeting existing and future skill gaps. Refugees would be offered safe and lawful pathways to protection, and opportunities to realise their potential and expand their skills.