There is no uniform definition of “skills.” In many countries “skills” are defined in terms of occupational skills and/or educational attainment levels. Similarly, there is no single methodology for skill needs analysis. However, what has proved to be useful in the experience of major destination countries, e.g. the European Union member States, is a holistic approach: a combination of qualitative analysis (e.g. case studies, focus group discussions) as well as quantitative data (e.g. surveys, skill audits, model-based projections). Long-term skill forecasts are usually carried out at the national level, whereas short-term forecasts are conducted at the regional or local levels, often through the network of the Public Employment Services (PES) .
In many origin countries, skill forecasting methods are either non-existent or implemented on a limited basis, often due to data scarcity. Furthermore, the dynamic nature of labour markets as a result of economic globalization and the presence of a large informal sector make the exercise of skills identification and skills matching even more challenging for both potential and return migrants.
The ILO’s approachAt the national level, providing capacity building for data collection and skill needs analysis will assist origin countries to implement more effective and efficient employment and training policies.
Further, Public Employment Services play an essential role in job search and job matching processes and the ILO has been delivering capacity building for improved counselling services for job seekers, including potential and return migrants. Private recruitment agencies can also have an important responsibility in the matching process for labour migration. Therefore, it would be necessary to carry out up-to-date analysis at the country-level of the functioning of both of these entities and provide policy recommendations for improvement of the relevant legislative and operational mechanisms.
Work to improve skills identification and matching should be combined with broader efforts to enhance coherence between employment, skills and migration policies, with the active participation of government institutions and the social partners. These coordinated efforts will also result in a better information exchange between the education system and the labour market, thus providing the basis for up-to-date skills information and forecasting.
In recent years, National Qualification Frameworks (NQFs) have been seen as an instrument for harmonizing highly heterogeneous skills development systems, as well as a tool for facilitating educational mobility across the entire education and training system. The ILO advises a careful assessment of NQFs feasibility at the national level. A milestone in this direction has been the 2008 ILC report on skills and productivity. In 2010, the ILO conducted a research programme "The implementation and impact of National Qualification Frameworks", focused on the experience of developing and implementing NQFs in 16 countries world-wide.
ILO’s mandate and instrumentsSkills development, training organizations and training delivery systems should be strengthened by promoting a life-long learning approach, as highlighted also by the ILO Recommendation 195 on Human Resources Development, 2004. This frame should be translated at a system level by designing and implementing policies, aimed at identifying occupational requirements, which can be translated into occupational and educational standards. The success of these policies depends on the endorsement of the tripartite constituents; therefore provision of adequate capacity building to them is crucial.
The ILO Multilateral Framework on Labour Migration (2006) states: “promoting the recognition and accreditation of migrant workers’ skills and qualifications and, where that is not possible, providing a means to have their skills and qualifications recognized’’ (Principle VI – Prevention of and Protection against Abusive Migration Practices).
The Conclusions of the 2013 ILO Tripartite Technical Meeting on Labour Migration call for sound labour market needs assessment and skills recognition, including among other actions to “…explore mechanisms for mutual recognition of skills, and certification of credentials built on ILO experience and with the active involvement of the social partners; in this regard, seek to encourage and support existing institutions and initiatives that have the potential to facilitate labour market integration and improve skills matching.
- Manual on participatory assessment of policy coherence
- Training manual on the ILO Guidelines for skills modules in BLMAs
- General practical guidance on promoting coherence among employment, education/training and labour migration policies
- The role of social partners in skills development, recognition and matching for migrant workers
- How to Facilitate the Recognition of Skills of Migrant Workers: Guide for Employment Services Providers
- Training Employment Services Providers on How to Facilitate the Recognition of Skills of Migrant Workers: Facilitator’s Notes
- Guidelines for skills modules in bilateral labour migration agreements
- Coherence of labour migration, employment, education and training policies in the ECOWAS subregion
- How to facilitate the recognition of skills of migrant workers: Guide for employment services providers
- Training employment services providers on how to facilitate the recognition of skills of migrant workers: Facilitator’s notes
- Skills matching and labour mobility: A policy position paper of the ASEAN Confederation of Employers
- Fact sheet - Skills and migration
- Skilling the workforce Labour migration and skills recognition and certification in Bangladesh
- The implementation and impact of National Qualifications Frameworks: Report of a study in 16 countries
- Report - Skills for improved productivity, employment growth and development
- Assessment of the existing services for skilled migrant workers in the Philippines
- National nursing core competency standards - training modules for the Philippines
- Assessment of the readiness of ASEAN Member States for implementation of the commitment to the free flow of skilled labour within the ASEAN Economic Community from 2015
- Pre-departure training curriculum: Viet Nam to Malaysia: Facilitator's manual
- Pre-departure training curriculum: Viet Nam to Malaysia: Participant's manual
- Labour shortages, foreign migrant recruitment and the portability of qualifications in East and South-East Asia
- Migration for decent work: Trainer's manual for mandatory pre-departure orientation to workers
- Research and analysis of vacancies and skills needs in the EU, in the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine
- Assessment of Links between Education, Training and Labour Migration in Moldova
- Report on the Methodology, Organization and Results of a Modular Sample Survey on Labour Migration in Ukraine
- Proposals for the Design and Implementation of a System for the Validation of Informal Learning to Support the Process of Managed Migration: Options for Ukraine
- The Relations between Education and Migration in Ukraine
- International Mobility of Ukrainian Teaching and Research Professionals