One of the most devastating impacts of displacement is that talent, knowledge, and skills remain untapped, and aspirations are lost and forgotten. Complementary labour mobility pathways, such as IOM’s Displaced Talent for Europe (DT4E) project, offer a win-win solution for addressing labour shortages at all skill levels and tapping into new talent while safeguarding the protection of migrants. It also represents an option for private sector companies willing to make a positive difference in someone else’s life. For displaced individuals coming to the UK and being able to use their skills and talent, it almost immediately enhances dignity, autonomy, and independence. 

Globally, there are 103 million forcibly displaced people in the world (UNHCR) living in places where they do not have full working rights.The term “displaced persons” refers to individuals who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict, persecution, situations of generalised violence, and/or violations of their human rights. Many of these individuals have skills and qualifications that are valuable to employers, but face barriers to employment due to their displaced status. 

Historically, skilled labour migration pathways have been difficult to access for displaced persons. However, this is now changing. Countries are exploring the possibility to open legal labour pathways to welcome skilled people in need of international protection.

The UK has an opportunity to pioneer a new labour mobility initiative by developing a complementary pathway for people in need of international protection.

With the right support and resources, professionals who have been living in displacemen can be recruited and successfully integrated into employment, providing employers with solutions to labour market shortages, while also making a difference in people’s lives.


The UK has been a pioneer in showcasing the success of labour mobility pathways, through a previoys successful Displaced Talent Mobility pilot programme in 2021 and 2022. The pilot was delivered by NHS England and NHS Improvement in partnership with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC), Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), RefuAid, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) - UN Migration, and Talent Beyond Boundaries  (TBB), and supported 86 talents, qualified as nurses in their home country to resume their nursing careers in the NHS in England.Building on the learnings and the expertise developed, in July 2022 the UK was the first country among those involved in DT4E to welcome displaced professionals arriving in Europe. Thanks to the partners’ dedication to upholding their efforts in employer and stakeholder engagement, 92 private sector employers have been engaged so far and another 66 Syrian and Palestinian talents with a wide range of professional backgrounds have arrived in the UK and are experiencing a positive change, as they share their skills and background to their new local and professional communities, with more talents currently being in the pre-departure phase.

“I’m looking forward to starting a new life here.” Yassine's arrival in the United Kingdom marks the beginning of a new chapter filled with hope and anticipation. Originally from Palestine, Yassine’s path to the UK was paved by the DT4E initative.

Read the stories of displaced talents and UK employers who have benefitted from DT4E.



Integration is a two-way street and is based on mutual understanding between all parties involved. As part DT4E, IOM UK foster integration by providing: 

Information sessions to employers, to provide them with a better understanding of issues related to displacement and the different cultural backgrounds of their new employees. 

Post-arrival cultural orientation to talents, once they have arrived in the UK, to provide them with a basic understanding of life in the UK and help them better integrate in their new communities and thrive in their new workplaces.



To make displaced skilled professionals’ mobility a viable solution, governments, employers, and civil society organisations must work together to provide the necessary support and resources. In the framework of DT4E, IOM UK is working with Talent Beyond Boundaries, Fedasil, Alto Comissariado para as Migrações and Fragomen.

Across Europe, employers are struggling to find the skills they need in the local labour market. As labour market shortages continue to pose a challenge to businesses across various industries, many are turning to alternative solutions to find skilled workers. An increasing number of countries are opening economic migration pathways as one of the many solutions to address labour market shortages.

(DT4E) is a three-year project funded by the European Union and setting the foundations for an innovative legal labour pathway to connect people in need of international protection in Jordan and Lebanon with employers in the United Kingdom, and another three European countries Ireland, Portugal, and Belgium. 

DT4E provides employers with access to an untapped international pool of more than 65,000 skilled professionals. These talents not only bring competences to the table, but also unique perspectives, diverse experiences, and a strong work ethic. Moreover, this skilled mobility pathway is driven by employers’ needs and is therefore relevant to all sectors that are short in labour.