E.g., 02/28/2024
E.g., 02/28/2024
Legal Migration for Work and Training: Mobility Options to Europe for Those Not in Need of Protection

EU Member States are struggling to deliver on the European Union's call to expand channels for foreign workers as a way to meet labor market needs and potentially tackle spontaneous migration. And their focus has been more on attracting high-skilled workers, rather than filling the low- and middle-skilled jobs that are increasingly open yet for which few channels to bring in third-country nationals exist. 

This report, which concludes a two-year research project conducted by the Research Unit of the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR) in cooperation with MPI Europe, provides an overview of mobility options open to low- and middle-skilled foreign workers, distilling findings from an analysis of policy in the European Union and case-study countries France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden.

With national governments the central gatekeepers of labor migration into the European Union, the report studies the differing selection systems used. The liberal approach that relies on employer sponsorship, exemplified by Sweden, allows businesses to quickly fill demand, but risks fueling competition with the domestic workforce or lowering labor market standards. State-run steering tools, used by the other case-study countries, allow for greater control, but risk being slower, more resource intensive, and potentially less responsive to labor market needs.

The authors caution that policymakers would do well not to overestimate the potential of legal channels to reduce irregular migration. They should instead consider existing and future migration policies in light of labor market, foreign policy, and development objectives.

Table of Contents 

I. Policy Frameworks for Legal Migration: Keys to Solving the Current Conundrum in Europe

II. Policy Rationales for Legal Migration for Work and Training: France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden — and the European Union

III. The EU's Role in Legal Migration Policy and External Migration Management

IV. Designing Legal Migration Systems: Approaches, Instruments, and Admission Channels Open to Low- and Middle-Skilled Third-Country Nationals

V. Cooperation on Migration with Origin Countries: The Role of Partnerships and Targeted Projects

VI. Implementation Gaps? Taking Stock of How Policies Are Put Into Practice

VII. Conclusions and Policy Recommendations