EU launches migration website
Brussels - The European Union launched a website on Friday to help would-be migrants navigate a maze of 27 states with their own immigration rules for workers and students.
With some nations facing a shortage of certain types of workers, despite high unemployment, EU home affairs commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem called for deeper cooperation with non-EU states to manage migration.
"Despite the high levels of unemployment in the EU today, we will in the near future need more labour migration because of the demographics. This is something that member states have to recognise," Malmstroem told a news conference.
Malmstroem cited figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) showing that the EU will need about two million health care professionals - doctors and nurses - in the next three years.
There are 20.1 million foreigners in the EU, representing four percent of the bloc's population of half a billion people.
As part of its migration strategy, the commission unveiled a website aimed at making it easier for foreigners to learn how to apply for various visas across the EU.
"Many people who want to move to the European Union do not know what possibilities exist, how to apply for a resident permit or the risks related to irregular migration," Malmstroem said.
"And migrants who are already in the EU are not always aware of their rights," she added.
She called for co-operation deals to be struck with north African neighbours - Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco, and one day Libya - in order to facilitate legal migration from a region changed by pro-democracy revolutions.