|Authors||Basant Kumar POTNURU, Sam VISHISHTA|
In the absence of a multilateral framework and a rule based global structure for the governance of international migration of people in all its complexities, countries engage in bilateral or regional cooperation in an attempt to engage and harmonize international movements and strive for a win-win situation. India and the EU are major trading partners and are engaged in a strategic Joint Action Plan with annual summit level talks; both sides are on the cusp of a new beginning through the soon to be concluded Free Trade Agreement (FTA). India-EU engagements, while underlining the importance of engagement on movement of people, have not clearly spelt out, as of yet, any roadmap for facilitation and enhancement of movement of people between the regions. The current paper examines if, and how, the bilateral relationship or engagement between India and the EU over the years has influenced international migration flows between the two sides and what potential challenges and policy options they face for a successful engagement and facilitation of movement of people. The paper suggests that given India’s strategic position as a major country of origin for skilled and semi-skilled migrant workers, coupled with foreseeable requirements in the EU domestic markets. There is need for a closer examination of policy initiatives to embrace bilateral flows and make the exercise beneficial for both partners. The International migration flows between India and Europe in the past had always depended on the quality and strength of engagement between the countries and regions. Currently, the EU however has a low profile in India in terms of its ability to attract the best of the talent compared to competitors such as the US and Canada. Therefore, the main challenge is to enhance the EU’s presence in India through greater participation, outreach and building of networks among academia, think tanks and the media. Student mobility need to be increased in all important sectors such as IT, healthcare, science and technology, research and development so as to help create advocacy groups and to enable a greater synergy of talent between India and the EU and enhance future cooperation, partnership and development. Easing of immigration policies for selective sectors of employment and education which are of strategic concern is also important. This will require measures for mutual recognition of degrees and skills, and a minimal window for long-term immigration and integration of third country migrant professionals and workers.