International Competition For Highly Skilled Professionals

The global economy is raising the bar for many corporations and small and medium enterprises, and in order to produce high quality, innovative products, they need to employ highly qualified professionals. To do that, governments are facilitating programs for attracting highly skilled professionals. Below is a review of a few of such programs in EU countries.

United Kingdom (points based system)

The Highly Skilled Migrant Program was established by the UK Home Office to offer highly skilled professionals the opportunity to migrate to the United Kingdom. The applicant can choose to either search for jobs in the UK, or engage in self employment activities, and there is no need to have a specific employment offer prior to arrival in the UK. In order to receive HSMP status, candidates need to accumulate points based on:

  • education qualifications;
  • past earnings;
  • age
  • UK experience.
  • Knowledge of English (and proof thereof) is mandatory in order to apply for HSMP. Initial applicants can be granted the possibility to spend 1-2 years in the UK. After this time, an application to re-new the HSMP will be required.

    The Netherlands (employer connected system)

    In the Netherlands, the Dutch government has tied the highly skilled knowledge migrant programme to employers. Starting with October 2004, Dutch companies are allowed to hire non-EU nationals without permits when meeting two requirements:

  • the employer has enrolled in the IND Highly Skilled Migrant Program;
  • the job pays a salary that meets or exceeds the minimum annual gross salary requirements which are based on the age of the employee. For 2007, the minimum annual salary requirement is EUR46,541 for employees 30 years of age or older, and EUR34,130 for employees younger than 30 years of age. The income criterion does not apply if the employee enters the employment of an educational or research institute as a PhD student, nor does it apply to post-docs and university teachers under 30 years of age.

    The statute of residency is granted for the duration of the employment contract, but for a period of no longer then 5 years. Just like in the case of the UK, dependents of highly skilled migrants are allowed to work without needing a work permit.

  • Canada (points based system)

    The government of Canada is applying a point based system to attract highly skilled professionals. Prior to 2003, the system required over 75 points in order to qualify, and even the most knowledgeable could barely meet the target. In September 2003, the requirement was dropped to 67 points. This most popular visa category for immigration to Canada gives points for the following factors:

  • education
  • English and French abilities;
  • work experience;
  • age;
  • arranged employment;
  • adaptability
  • In addition, applicants will have to demonstrate that they do not have a criminal record and are in good heath. Unlike the UK and the Dutch systems which can offer almost immediate entry into the country and immediate employment, the Canadian system is slow in processing applications (possibly because of high demand).

    Australia (points based system)

    On the other side of the world, Australia is also applying a point based system for highly skilled job seekers. To qualify for this category, applicants must:

  • satisfy the basic requirements;
  • pass the points test;
  • nominate a skilled occupation from the Skilled Occupation List (SOL);
  • be under 45 years of age; and
  • have been employed in a skilled occupation for 12 months in the period of 18 months immediately before the application is made for 60 point categories, or have been employed in a skilled occupation for 24 months in the period of 36 months immediately before the application is made for 40 or 50 points categories.
  • The application process is divided in 2 stages, and applicants need to pass through the fist stage in order to qualify for the second. Overall, highly skilled professionals are in high demand and can be easily employed in any country of the world. This makes it easy to follow your passion.

    Rachel Gordon is a recruitment consultant at [] international. You are welcome to re-post this article as long as you keep the information about the author intact, including the links.