Migration and mobility

5 mei 2022

The internal free movement of labour is a cornerstone of the EU policy agenda for some years, with the underlying objectives of encouraging cross-country exchanges and balancing differences related to specific national systems.Read more

The internal free movement of labour is a cornerstone of the EU policy agenda for some years, with the underlying objectives of encouraging cross-country exchanges and balancing differences related to specific national systems. Both migration and mobility are necessary for addressing skills imbalances and responding to labour market demands. Mobility provides opportunities for EU citizens.

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EU context

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The EU, governments and the social partners face many challenges associated with internal mobility in practice.Read more

The EU, governments and the social partners face many challenges associated with internal mobility in practice. The European Parliament resolution of 20 May 2021 focuses on the impacts of EU rules on the free movements of workers and services, promoting intra-EU mobility as a tool to match labour supply with demand, as well as matching labour market needs and migrants’ skills.

At the same time, the high inflow of refugees in 2015 (often called ‘the refugee crisis’) continues to have a profound impact across the EU and beyond. Migration is one of the European Commission’s top policy priorities. Adopted on 23 September 2020, the Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum sets out a fairer and more integrated approach to managing migration and asylum. It aims to reduce incentives for irregular migration, develop legal migration pathways and rebuild trust between Member States in managing migration. Among the initiatives included in the package are an action plan on integration and inclusion for 2021–2024, as well as a skills and talent package.

Eurofound’s work on migration and mobility links in with the Commission’s 2019–2024 priority on promoting our European way of life. 

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Definitions
  • Intra-EU mobility: The movement of EU nationals within the EU, whether within a Member State or between Member States, as mobile workers. In cases where this move is between Member States and at least semi-permanent, this constitutes internal migration. Shorter-term movement includes the phenomena of posted workers and cross-border commuters.
  • Migration: The movement of workers between states on a permanent or semi-permanent basis. This migration may be internal migration between Member States or third-country migration of workers from outside the EU.
  • European Industrial Relations DictionaryFree movement of citizens, Free movement of workers, Immigration, Migration, Mobility of workers, Posted workersThird-country nationals

Research

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Given the complexities around migration and mobility, socioeconomic research is key in order to inform policy responses. Eurofound’s extensive research on different aspects of migrants and mobile workers primarily focuses on geographical mobility.Read more

Given the complexities around migration and mobility, socioeconomic research is key in order to inform policy responses. Eurofound’s extensive research on different aspects of migrants and mobile workers primarily focuses on geographical mobility. It mainly considers the labour market situation of EU citizens in terms of intra-EU mobility or internal migration, on the one hand, and migration of third-country nationals to the EU, on the other.

Key contributions

Eurofound has looked at trends and policies in relation to labour mobility in the EU, as well as the situation of posted workers in the Member States.

In response to the refugee crisis, Eurofound research has explored the role of public services – specifically labour market integration, housing, social services, health and education services – in the social and economic integration of refugees and asylum seekers. It aims to identify the factors that hinder this process and the elements that contribute to successful integration. This follows on from earlier research on the social dimension of intra-EU mobility, which assessed the impact on public services.

A further study on approaches to the labour market integration of refugees and asylum seekers expands on existing research on the subject in response to the refugee crisis, updating information on leglisation, examining labour market integration and exploring the role of the social partners.

Research on migration, labour market policies and effective integration of third-country nationals has explored policy coordination between Member States and also the important role of the social partners in relation to third-country migration.

Eurofound has also carried out a study on the regulation of labour market intermediaries and the role of the social partners in preventing trafficking of labour. Other research has focused on the impact of mobility and migration of healthcare workers in central and eastern European countries.

Local integration policies for migrants

Eurofound conducted an earlier study from 2006 to 2010 with a network of over 30 European cities working together to support the social and economic integration of third-country migrants. The European network of cities for local integration policies for migrants (CLIP) encouraged the structured sharing of experiences through the medium of separate city reports and workshops that covered four research modules on housing, diversity, intercultural policies and ethnic entrepreneurship. The lessons learnt and the conclusions drawn from the results of each research module have also contributed to the national and the European debate on integration.

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Key outputs over the years

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Publications & data

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The sections below provide access to a range of publications, data and ongoing work on this topic.