Pilot Program Addressing Labor Shortages through Innovative Labor Migration Models (PALIM)

  • Country of destination: Belgium
  • Country of origin: Morocco
  • Sectors: Information and Communications Technology
  • Skill level: High
  • Timeline: March 1, 2019 - August 31, 2020
  • Number of beneficiaries: 120


The European Union, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), and the Belgian development agency Enabel worked together to test an innovative labor migration model that brought workers from Morocco’s growing information and communications technology (ICT) sector to Flanders, which suffers from a severe shortage of ICT workers.

Why was it started?

In early 2019, the Flanders region of Belgium was suffering from shortages of ICT workers that were suppressing business growth and productivity. Flanders’ private sector was interested in recruiting talent from third countries; Morocco, which has a booming ICT sector, was interested in finding investors to fund its burgeoning training centers. To address both needs, Enabel implemented a pilot based on the Center for Global Development’s Global Skill Partnership model, a bilateral migration agreement that moves training into the country of origin.

How does it work?

Enabel recruited partners in Belgium and Morocco to participate in the program. They included Flemish and Moroccan employment services, the Flemish employers’ federations VOKA and Agoria and their Moroccan counterparts CGEM and APEBI, the Belgian agency for asylum seekers (Fedasil), and the Flemish Agency for Integration. The Flemish private sector developed the curriculum and provided the Moroccan participants with training in the Dutch language and in cultural awareness. The program relied on an existing government-to-government agreement and did not have to create a new visa pathway.

Training in specific ICT skills began in late 2019. Of the 9,677 people who applied to the program, 120 were selected. Thirty of them were placed in jobs in Belgium; the other 90 were placed in jobs in Morocco.

What impact has it had?

Training was completed in mid-2020. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult to place participants in jobs. As of 2020, 30 percent of trainees had been placed in companies in Belgium or Morocco. One had been accepted to a university in the United States, and two were pursuing additional training.