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Luxembourg's allure for foreign talent on the up, OECD says

Luxembourg's allure for foreign talent on the up, OECD says

by John MONAGHAN 2 min. 09.03.2023
Country's appeal for highly skilled workers and international investors has jumped since 2019 despite long-standing issues like housing
Commuters using public transport in Bettembourg
Commuters using public transport in Bettembourg
Photo credit: Guy Jallay

Luxembourg has shot up an OECD ranking for the most attractive countries for highly-skilled workers and international investors seeking to relocate, despite long-standing complaints about the country’s soaring cost of housing and difficulties for spouses in finding suitable work.

The 38-member group of wealthy nations released its latest index on the best countries for global talents on Thursday, following on from the first ranking, which was published in 2019, when the OECD had 35 members. It assesses areas that include earnings, tax and visa access for staff and their families.

Luxembourg came in sixth for the most highly skilled migrants, up five places from 2019, which the OECD said was “partly explained by changes in visa and admission conditions” for new arrivals.

The United States and Canada, which came in at eighth and tenth respectively, would have been higher, the OECD said, if it had not been for issues such as quotas for highly skilled workers in the US and long waiting times for visas in Canada.

For international entrepreneurs, Luxembourg was also in sixth place, a jump of 13 spots and the biggest improvement of any country since 2019. The OECD attributed this rise to a “slight reduction” in corporate tax levels from the last study, and the overall “favourable economic and regulatory conditions” for businesses.

The Grand Duchy was credited with becoming a more appealing destination for students, finishing 13th - up seven places. Despite having only one university, the country was named as one of several nations which had eased visa access for graduates seeking employment.

The latest OECD report is a bright spot for Luxembourg after other studies had raised questions about the country's attractiveness.

Not all rosy

Luxembourg has Europe's fastest-growing population - largely driven by immigration - yet that is still not enough to fill the jobs the booming economy is creating. This led the OECD to urge the country - in a separate report in February - to develop strategies to retain talent and offer a wide range of training for jobseekers to match an ever-evolving employment market.  

The Grand Duchy dropped from third to seventh place in the annual World Talent Ranking in December, released by the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), a prestigious business school based in Lausanne.  

Many companies are short-staffed and often have to look further afield to attract the right talent, Luxembourg recruiters have previously said, particularly to fill vacancies in key sectors such as banking and tech.

Senior managers at two of the main EU institutions headquartered in the Grand Duchy last year also warned that candidates are turning down job offers because of surging accommodation costs.   

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