Tuesday

24th Apr 2018

Europe attracting fewer immigrants

  • Fewer immigrants see Europe as a place of opportunity (Photo: letterlust)

Europe should pursue an open-ended immigration labour policy to help tackle the economic crisis and ensure its working age population is maintained, according to a report presented by the Paris-based economic club the OECD on Wednesday (27 June).

Existing labour mobility barriers in Europe, coupled with a bleak job prospects, deter both low and high-skilled migrants from coming to the bloc. Overall, migration flows into Europe dropped 3 percent in 2010 with a slight increase experienced in 2011.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

Fewer and fewer people from outside Europe, but also from new accession states, are leaving their homes to seek out opportunities in the Union. Europe may be losing out as migrants find more attractive alternatives in Asia and elsewhere.

“The decline in the labour demand has been the driving force behind the fall in migration during the crisis, not restrictions imposed by migration policies,” Angel Gurria, the secretary general of OECD, told reporters in Brussels.

The EU, he said, needs to review its migration policies and promote the free-mobility of labour. He also disputed claims that immigrants take away jobs and do not sufficiently contribute to society. Instead, skilled and unskilled immigrants are a crucial component to the “building of nations and essential to the functioning of our economies.”

He noted that Europe is ageing quickly as older people begin to out number those of working age. “By 2015, immigration – at the current level – will not be sufficient to maintain the working age population in the EU,” he warned.

Jobs left behind by those retired are not replaced. They just disappear, he said.

Immigrants either occupy positions that most Europeans do not want or positions that Europeans do not have the skills to fill. Sweden is currently scouring the world to find four to five thousand individuals with the skills necessary to work in its mining sector.

The study says Asia is the leading source of migration into OECD countries and accounted for 35 percent – or 1.8 million people - of all migration flows. The figure represents a 56 percent increase compared to 2000.

“If OECD countries want to rely on a steady flow of skilled workers from Asia in the future they must take steps to maintain and improve their attractiveness,” said Gurria.

Meanwhile, unskilled migrants in Europe are now without jobs and may be exposed to abuse.

Immigration debate like in 1945

EU affairs commissioner Malmstrom said the current political climate in the EU on immigration is “difficult”.

“It is clear that not since 1945 have had so many xenophobic parties been elected in assemblies today. That of course reflects the political debate,” said Malmstrom.

The Commissioner said immigrants, migrants and Muslims have become scapegoats for some EU national political parties who are searching for easy solutions.

The tainted political discourse on the minorities has had an adverse influence on more moderate political parties. She pointed out that only 4 percent of Libyans fleeing the war last year came to Europe.

Other migrants, from Egypt for instance, primarily go to other Gulf states. The so-called wave of immigrants from North African countries to the EU has not materialised, noted the OECD.

Speaking openly about migration and their positive contribution and benefit to society is rendered all the more difficult as a result, said the Commissioner.

She also noted that migration and asylum-related policies are stuck in negotiations between the European Parliament and member states because of political rhetoric.

The European Commission, for its part, is striving for an open immigration and integration policy.

Flanders tells Moroccan migrants how to behave

A new immigration kit for Flanders tells would-be immigrants that it does not rain money and that Flemings are healthy-eating, spontaneity-adverse creatures tucked up in bed by 10pm each night.

EU takes step closer to 'posted workers' deal

Negotiators from the member states, EU Parliament and Commission reached a 'common understanding' to guarantee equal pay for equal work in the EU. They hope to reach a final agreement in June.

EU posted workers face hurdles

Negotiations among the EU institutions will start soon, but could be difficult on several issues - like the inclusion of the transport sector or the duration of a posting.

Magazine

A sustainable death wish

No one can escape death. But choices over how one's body is disposed of could either lessen or increase your carbon footprint.

News in Brief

  1. Far-right attack migrants on Greek island
  2. Merkel defends accepting UN refugees
  3. EU commissioner plans Malta 'money laundering' inspection
  4. Survey: Half of high polluting farms receive CAP subsidies
  5. Commission will 'not shy away' from Malta killing repercussions
  6. EU Commission opens probe on Alitalia state loan
  7. Paris suspect given 20-year sentence for Brussels shoot-out
  8. Merkel and Pena Nieto praise EU-Mexico trade agreement

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of Ministers12 Recommendations for Nordic Leadership on Climate and Environment
  2. Macedonian Human Rights MovementOxford Professor Calls for an End to the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  3. ACCAPeople Who Speak-Up Should Feel Safe to Do So
  4. Mission of China to the EUProgress on China-EU Cooperation
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersWorld's Energy Ministers to Meet in Oresund in May to Discuss Green Energy
  6. ILGA EuropeParabéns! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  7. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  8. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  9. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  10. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  11. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight

Latest News

  1. How Russian propaganda depicts Europe - should we worry?
  2. MEPs tell Chinese ambassador of concerns on trade
  3. Greenland votes with eye on independence
  4. EU court delivers blow to anti-abortion activists
  5. Hungary activists defiant after 'Soros Mercenaries' attack
  6. European Commission proposes whistleblower protection law
  7. Secrecy of VW fraud report 'unacceptable', says MEP
  8. 'Strong suspicion' of corruption in Council of Europe assembly

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  2. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  3. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  4. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  5. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector
  6. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  7. European Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  8. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  9. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  10. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  11. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  12. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations