A triad configuration of labour mobility in the enlarged European Union. Migration structure and developments in the case of old and new member states

Liliana Hiris, The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen
Liana Son, West University of Timisoara
Ciprian Sipoş, University of the West, Timisoara

The paper explores the new triad configuration of European migration flows from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), towards two destinations, that is, North-Western and South-Western Europe. The new developments come as a result of the process of liberalisation initialised by the European Union's (EU) eastward expansion in 2004 and 2007. The opening of frontiers – albeit gradual – for workers in the 10 new member states has proven to be a contributing factor to the improved dynamics of European labour markets. On top of the general trend of increased migration, differentiated liberalisation has created a new typology of labour markets, with a variety of opportunities for access and integration of immigrants in the extended union. On one hand, selective and active policies promoted by some EU members facilitate labour market integration, particularly with respect to highly qualified and young workers. On the other hand, there are fears of unskilled immigration in old member states, and incentives for new member states to keep highly qualified workers ‘at home’, or to encourage their return. We thus explore the emerging patterns of cross-border employment in an enlarged EU and the related policies at destination, in contrast with the incentives and policy choices in countries of origin. In concrete terms, this paper thus compares the experiences of major destination countries of European East-West migrants; two in Northwest Europe (i.e. UK and Ireland) and two in Southwest Europe (i.e. Spain and Italy). It then chooses the case of Romania as a migrants sending country, to analyse its experience in light of different levels of liberalisation in the selected EU destinations. It thereby looks at the skill composition of labour flows, the level of remittances these generate, as well as the relationship between Romanian workers’ mobility, and the dynamics of employment, labour productivity, and wages in this new EU member state.

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Presented in Session 79: Migrants and the Labour Market