The European Commission is proposing a "blue card" scheme for highly skilled migrant workers to help plug Europe's IT skills gap.
The commission wants to make it easier for qualified migrants to enter the EU through the fast-track entry and work permit scheme. It said Europe desperately needed skilled IT workers and engineers over the next two decades.
The scheme will be demand-driven, and migrants will have to prove they have the offer of a job that could not be filled by a national.
Vice-president Franco Frattini, commissioner for freedom, security and justice, said, "We want Europe to become at least as attractive as favourite migration destinations such as Australia, Canada and the USA."
Carrie Hartnell, programme manager at Intellect, warned against relying too much on migrant workers.
"Bringing in people from abroad is a short-term approach and we must continue to putting as much effort as possible into training and developing a larger IT-skilled workforce in the UK. We will always need a flourishing, home-grown IT industry and we must do our best to ensure that we always have one."
She said, "The UK does have a serious IT skills shortage, even with the increasing use of outsourcing, and there is some merit in exploring all options, including the blue card proposal."