Elma Saiz's trip to Washington

Spain allocates 890,000 euros to a pioneering regular migration programme with Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, managed by the World Bank

News - 2024.4.18

18/04/2024. Spain allocates 890,000 euros to a pioneering regular migration programme with Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Ecuador, managed by... The Minister for Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, Elma Saiz, during one of her meetings with representatives of the World Bank

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In Washington, she participated in two meetings within the framework of the World Bank's famous Spring Meetings on circular migration and a new project that consists of identifying skills in countries of origin, such as Tunisia, Ecuador or Costa Rica, to fill the gaps in destination countries, such as Spain, Italy, Germany, Belgium or the USA. What the World Bank has dubbed Global Skills Partnerships.

Wednesday began with a multilateral meeting between Elma Saiz, representatives of the World Bank and ministers from Ecuador, Colombia and the Dominican Republic, the three countries with which the Alliance between Spain and Latin America will be launched. This programme has just received 950,000 dollars (890,000 euros) from the Spanish government through the Spanish Fund for Latin America and the Caribbean (SFLAC), managed by the World Bank.

These three Latin American countries have a significant diaspora in Spain and have shown a strong commitment to improving migration management through their collaboration with the World Bank. The programme includes an assessment of labour demand and labour shortages in Spain and technical assistance and training to improve management systems and interventions to improve migration routes.

Elma Saiz wanted to share during the meeting that "Spain has just passed the psychological and historical barrier of 21 million national insurance contributors, something that would have been impossible without foreign workers, who account for 13%, almost 2.8 million". Colombia is one of the largest contributors to the total, with 180,000 affiliated workers. Ecuador, meanwhile, has around 71,000 and the Dominican Republic around 30,000, according to March affiliation data. "It is estimated that, in order to maintain our welfare state, Spain needs to incorporate between 200,000 and 250,000 migrants a year into its labour market by 2050".

This formula already works in countries such as Germany and Belgium.

For its part, the World Bank has highlighted that this formula, although pioneering in our country, already works in other European countries, such as Germany and Kosovo in the construction sector or Belgium and Morocco in the ICT sector. In addition, a number of pilot programmes focusing on the health sector will be implemented.

What does it consist of? The host country provides technology and funding to train people in the country of origin with skills in demand in both. Trained and certified people can then choose to stay in their home country or migrate legally and safely to work in the destination country.

"Investment is recouped through the benefits migrants bring to meet demand in key sectors of our economy, such as health care, elderly care, transport and construction," she added.

On Thursday, the minister will take part in a second ministerial round table on the subject as part of the Spring Meetings, this time with other countries of origin, such as Tunisia and Costa Rica, and other countries of destination, such as Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the USA. The aim is to address the three core elements that must be in place to establish successful partnerships that are sustainable and work on a large scale:

Invest in human capital and focus on skills development at origin, thus transforming the risk of brain drain into gain and potential migrants can be more competitive in the global labour market.

Strong links with potential employers and appropriate mechanisms to recognise skills in sectors with a high demand for labour such as mechanics, construction, health care and green industries.

Well-administered and systematic international social protection and labour market intermediation systems. These can facilitate cross-border economic gains while providing decent jobs for millions of people, including young people and women, both at home and abroad.

The World Bank has announced at its 2023 Annual Meetings the goal of promoting at least 10 Global Skills Partnerships by 2024. "Migration is the present and the future of our geopolitical scenario, and it is a source of pride that international organisations such as the World Bank recognise Spain as a promoter of good practices to ensure that foreign talent results in greater benefits for our country and the countries of origin", concluded Minister Elma Saiz.

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