New Delhi, Oct. 18: The European Union is likely to recognise Indian medical degrees, ease linguistic barriers in academic programmes, and offer more scholarships, skill training and jobs as part of efforts to attract more Indian students and workers.
The 28-nation bloc is funding a project that aims at building a framework to facilitate the movement of people to the zone.
The partners in the project — “Developing a knowledge base for policymaking on India-EU migration” — include the Union government-run India Centre for Migration, European University Institute, Maastricht University of the Netherlands and IIM Bangalore.
A two-day conference held under the project ended here today, having discussed key barriers to the mobility of students and workers, government officials who attended the programme said.
Currently, the migration of Indian doctors and other health care professionals to Europe is largely limited to Britain.
The EU countries, including Britain, do not recognise Indian medical degrees and require holders of such qualifications to clear an entrance exam before they can begin training and practice.
The other hurdles are linguistic. Many European universities now do not offer courses in English, and some countries lay an emphasis on short-term migration. This, experts say, dissuades many who would like to settle there.
The conference discussed mutual recognition of medical degrees, easing of restrictions for health care professionals and launching student exchange programmes with Indian institutions.
When it comes to higher education, the US and the UK have traditionally been the major destinations for Indian students.
Other European countries do not attract too many Indian students, although France, Germany and Ireland have been receiving a good response of late, the officials said.
Students are seen as high-skilled migrants. It isn’t surprising, therefore, that the conference discussed offering more scholarships and training opportunities to them.
India, with its large number of youths, can be a major source of migration to the EU nations whose ageing populations have left them struggling to get enough workers, the officials said.
But there is a huge gap between the skills acquired by Indian workers and the training needed to work in Europe.
India now has the capacity to formally train only 2.3 million people. Another problem is that only 2 to 3 per cent of the nation’s youths opt for vocational training. This figure contrasts with 96 per cent in Korea, 75 per cent in Germany, 80 per cent in Japan and 68 per cent in the UK.
Another point of discussion at the conference was circular migration — one in which workers do not settle down permanently in the destination country.
One of the options explored was providing low-skill workers with skills training and giving them the opportunity to work abroad for a limited duration. Around 100 experts and officials attended the conference.