The European Union is considering introducing a US-style green card system to attract skilled immigrants, according to Justice and Home Affairs Commissioner Franco Frattini.
Proposals published on Tuesday by the Commission include ideas to target skilled workers to fill specific short-term job shortages as well as a green card-type scheme to encourage longer-term labour immigration.
"This does not contain pre-cooked solutions. Rather it poses the right questions. It is a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach," Frattini, said.
"It does not open the door to unrestricted economic migration to the EU."
The Commission points out that despite the opposition to immigrants in many EU states, the number of working-age people in the EU will fall by 20m between 2010 and 2030.