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Global skills partnerships are pathways to economic prosperity, say WB economists

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By Veronica Uy

Global skills partnership (GSP) programs are able to meet global labor market demands and are thus pathways to economic prosperity, two World Bank economists said in a recent knowledge-sharing session organized by the Philippine Institute for Development Studies (PIDS).

In their presentation, WB economists Dr. Pablo Ariel Acosta and Mr. Limon Rodriguez noted that due to aging populations and declining fertility rates in richer countries, demographic shifts would reshape migration patterns.

Rodriguez listed down examples of GSP programs: the Pilot Project Addressing Labour Shortages Through Innovative Labour Migration Models (PALIM) between Morocco and Belgium, the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC), and South Korea’s Employment Permit System (EPS).

Rodriguez said that these GSPs address skill shortages by facilitating legal and systematic routes for labor mobility. He enumerated key features of successful GSPs: addressing skill gaps in both origin and destination countries, funding training from the destination, and adhering to legal migration pathways.

The integration of workers into high-growth sectors hinges on streamlining administrative processes, which Rodriguez said was a recent focal point of discussions within the newly established Department of Migrant Workers.

The WB economists presented the study titled, “The Promise of Global Skills Partnership for Win-Win Migration Outcomes,” highlighting the pivotal role of GSPs in yielding positive outcomes for both labor-sending and -receiving countries.

Acosta and Rodriguez said that the demographic shift emphasizes the urgent need to invest in skills development to meet global labor market demands. They said that adopting GSPs will enable countries to go beyond simple bilateral agreements and focus on serious investments in upskilling the future labor force.

“People are moving primarily to achieve better economic living and opportunities,” Acosta said, noting that regional migration patterns show the economic benefits of migration.

Acosta said the substantial income increases of East Asia migrants to North America and Europe enable them to send remittances back home.

But Acosta cautioned about impending population declines in high-income countries, citing Japan as an example and noting its need for millions of workers in the coming decades. He stressed the crucial role of skilled migration in maintaining economic stability.

The WB economists said the GSP strategy fosters collaboration between origin and destination countries to align migrant skills with labor market demands and share responsibilities for skills development.

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