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Global Skill Partnerships

Kidist Mulugeta surveys the cement factory she works at

What is the Global Skill Partnership model?

A Global Skill Partnership is a bilateral labor migration agreement between a country of origin and a country of destination. It is a way to regulate how migration happens in a context where the labor forces are shrinking in countries of destination but growing rapidly in countries of origin, resulting in increased labor market pressure.  The model can address legitimate concerns about the impact of migration on both sides.

The country of origin agrees to train people in skills specifically and immediately needed in both the country of origin and destination. Some of those trainees choose to stay and increase human capital in the country of origin (the “home” track); others migrate to the country of destination (the “away” track). The country of destination provides technology and finance for the training, and receives migrants with the skills to contribute to the maximum extent and integrate quickly. In December 2018, after 18 months of consultations, negotiations, and public debate, 163 states adopted the Global Compact for Migration. Global Skill Partnerships are the only specific policy idea included in this landmark agreement.

How is it different from other bilateral labor agreements?


  1. Manages future migration pressure, addressing many legitimate concerns about migration, in countries of destination (such as integration and fiscal impact) and in countries of origin (such as skills drain).
  2. Directly involves employers in the country of destination and origin to identify and train for specific skills they need that can be learned relatively quickly.
  3. Forms a public-private partnership for semi-skilled work, jobs that take between several months and a few years to learn, not a university degree.
  4. Creates skills before migration, with cost savings to the country of destination and spillover benefits from training centers in the country of origin.
  5. Promotes development. They bundle training for migrants with training for non-migrants in the country of origin, according to the differing needs of each.
  6. Is highly flexible. Any agreement can, and must, be adapted to the specific country needs in both destination and origin. 

Where is it being implemented?

A map of GSP pilots

How can I find out more?

  • General
    • GSP brochure in English, French, and Spanish
    • “10 Steps to Implementing the Global Compact for Migration through Global Skill Partnerships” (December 2018) Blog | Brief
    • “Global Skill Partnerships: A Proposal for Technical Training in a Mobile World” (October 2017) Brief | Report
    • “Global Skill Partnerships: A Proposal for Technical Training in Settings of Forced Displacement” (October 2017) Brief
  • Pilots
    • Australia-Pacific
      • "How Has COVID-19 Affected APTC's Efforts to Promote Labor Mobility in the Pacific?" (July 2020) Blog
      • "A Pacific Skills Partnership: Improving the APTC to Meet Skills Needed in the Region” (August 2019) Blog
      • “Skill Development and Regional Mobility: Lessons from the Australia-Pacific Technical College” (June 2014) Working Paper
    • Europe
      • "Promoting New Kinds of Legal Labour Migration Pathways Between Europe and Africa" (October 2019) Blog | Brief
      • “Promoting New Kinds of Legal Labor Migration: Innovations from Germany, Belgium, and Beyond” (July 2019) Blog
      • “Maximizing the Shared Benefits of Legal Migration Pathways: Lessons from Germany's Skills Partnerships” (July 2019) Policy Paper
      • “How to Tackle the UK's Chronic Nursing Shortage—and Help Development” (June 2017) Blog | Policy Paper

For more from CGD on migration, displacement, and humanitarian policy, visit our program page.

Related Experts

Photo of Helen Dempster
Assistant Director and Senior Associate for Policy Outreach for Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy
Photo of Michael Clemens
Director of Migration, Displacement, and Humanitarian Policy and Senior Fellow