A New Pilot to Address Underemployment and Deskilling of Professionals With a Migration Background

A New Pilot to Address Underemployment and Deskilling of Professionals With a Migration Background

Why a pilot?

While a participatory grant-making approach has gained momentum over the past years, the idea of a more representative, legitimate and inclusive decision-making process is not new to EPIM, and was in fact the approach that was used when the collaborative was first created. At that time, in 2006, the Steering Committee delegated its decision-making power to an independent 4-person jury with expertise on inclusion.

17 years later, we want to build upon that philosophy and go a step further by working with a group of people with direct expertise of the issues we aim to address. With them, we want to co- shape a small fund with a more inclusive grant-making approach. Through this fund, we hope to resource organisations and initiatives led by people with lived experience, with the final grant decisions being made by a Council of Practitioners – experts with  both lived and professional experiences and knowledge of the social issues at hand.

We know the process will not be perfect. We want to start small, try and learn. And we approach this with humility. This is a learning opportunity for EPIM, for the broader philanthropic community and everyone in the migration ecosystem. This pilot is not a standalone effort. It is part of EPIM’s larger commitment to equity and to further centering our work on the lived experience of migration. We hope thia becomes one of the main planks of EPIM’s journey to be more inclusive, legitimate and thus impactful.

What we are hoping to achieve?

2023 is the European Year of Skills, we’d like to leverage this opportunity to support initiatives that tackle underemployment, the omnipresent skills mismatch and the deskilling of professionals with a migration background who reside in Europe.

The objective of the Fund is to resource organisations and initiatives where people who are directly impacted by the above issues speak for themselves, represent and lead their own vision and priorities, and propose their own solutions. Beyond this core objective, we want to the purpose-built pilot has the following learning objectives, to:

▪ Build stronger and new relationships with practitioners with and without lived experience in the migrant labour market inclusion sphere
▪ Generate evidence about the impact of the participatory and more representative processes
▪ Learn from a more inclusive grant-making process
▪ Share learnings with peers and initiate conversations

Members of the Council of Practitioners

We’ve put together a Council of Practitioners – six dynamic expert individuals and are excited to work with them to sensemake, to map systemically and discover the levers of change, and to finally put forward recommendations for funding by the end of this year.

Amer Alqadi

Amer has a diverse background in human resources, with experience as a HR business partner, recruiter, and HR teacher. Having moved to Germany in 2025, he contributed to studies on immigration, employability, and entrepreneurship conducted by Berliner universities. Amer has been involved with organisations like SINGA Berlin, CareerFoundry, and the Go4DGreen project, and he is a certified tech recruiter and entrepreneurship coach, currently serving as a board member of directors for SINGA Global.

Ana Paula Costa

Ana Paula Costa is a social scientist who specialises in public policy, immigration and the labour market in Southern Europe. She holds a Master in Political Science and International Relations from Nova University of Lisbon, Portugal. Currently, she is a PhD candidate in Political Science, a researcher at the Portuguese Institute of International Relations and and a Vice-President of the House of Brazil in Lisbon (In Portuguese ‘Casa do Brasil de Lisboa’).

Eunice Romero Rivera 

Eunice Romero Rivera is the current Director General of Migrations, Refugee, and Antiracism at the Government of Catalonia. With a background in political science and sociology, she is a PhD candidate focused on nationalism, identity politics, and migration in Catalonia and has been visiting scholar at LSE and Open University of Catalonia. Throughout her career, she has actively engaged in anti racist and antifascist advocacy, community organisation, political advice, and implemented social projects aimed at promoting diversity and recognition of new members in Catalan society.

Halima Salat Barre

Halima Salat Barre is an investigative journalist at Lighthouse Reports, a Netherlands-based non-profit newsroom known for its acclaimed public interest investigations on migration, climate, conflict, and corruption. Within Lighthouse Reports, Halima’s focus has been on in-depth investigations concerning migration and borders, as well as the challenges faced by Europe’s immigrant population. Prior to joining Lighthouse Reports, she worked as a political reporter at Kenya Broadcasting Corporation and later freelanced as a documentaries dubbing producer in Somali and Swahili languages.

James Peter

James Peter is the President and Co-Founder of Next Step Hungary Association, an organisation dedicated to supporting migrants and refugees in Hungary, that was founded in 2009. Having experienced life as an asylum seeker in refugee camps himself, James is deeply committed to promoting social inclusion. He has supervised projects funded by the Hungarian state, the European Commission, UN bodies (UNHCR, IOM) and private philanthropic organisations, while also being a passionate leader and counsellor of migrants.

Maria Vincenza Desiderio 

Maria Vincenza is a senior independent expert with extensive experience in migration, integration, and qualification recognition policies. Her work involves providing research, policy recommendations, and technical advice to various government administrations, European institutions, international organisations, and civil society groups on topics such as immigrant integration, labour market integration of vulnerable migrant groups, recognition of foreign qualifications, and economic migration for employment and entrepreneurship. With a master’s degree in International Relations and a background in political sciences, she has authored over thirty publications and previously held positions at prominent organisations like OECD, MPI, and IOM.