Europe must act together to strengthen pathways for labour migration

19/02/2020

Maria João Rodrigues, Carina Ohlsson, Ylva Johansson, and Marije Laffeber

Pictured (L-R): Maria João Rodrigues, President of FEPS, Carina Ohlsson, PES Migration and Integration Network co-chair, Ylva Johansson, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, and Marije Laffeber, PES Deputy Secretary General. 

Our family is committed to creating more safe and regular channels for migration to help people in need of protection, to address labour market needs and skills shortages, and to maximise the benefits for the countries of origin, the PES-FEPS Migration & Integration Network meeting in Brussels said today.

Progressive European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson, took part in the meeting alongside local, national and European politicians from the PES political family, trade unions, and migration experts from across the globe.

The Network agreed that effective legal pathways for labour migration must benefit all. Cooperation between all levels of governance from local to regional, to national, to European and global are vital for a comprehensive labour migration policy. More should be done at European level in terms of improving job matching, recognition of foreign qualifications, the scaling up of language acquisition and vocational training, and the facilitation of the labour mobility of migrants

Carina Ohlsson, co-chair of the PES Migration and Integration Network, said:

“Europe must extend the framework for labour migration and work in close cooperation with partner countries to scale up circular migration and mobility partnerships. This is how we ensure migration is beneficial for all.

"We are proud to have a member of our political family as the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs. Commissioner Johansson is the right person to lead the reforms in this area, she will provide a progressive push on this topic.”

PES Deputy Secretary General, Marije Laffeber, commented:

“Legal channels for labour migration are a key instrument in the EU's comprehensive approach to migration. They go hand in hand with the fight against irregular migration and to save lives. Legal channels are essential both to respond to the needs of the single market and to allow more ambitious partnerships with third countries.”

Maria João Rodrigues, President of FEPS, added:

“Migration is here to stay.  We need a comprehensive European policy on migration with more safe pathways, a new generation of mobility pacts with third countries, the relaunch of cooperation between EU and Africa, and a clear commitment on fundamental and social rights.”

Closing the event, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, Ylva Johansson said:

“The new Deal on Asylum and Migration should include stronger and better legal pathways for refugees and migrants. We need less irregular migration but not less migrants. We also need to invest in integration and better protect migrant workers.”

PES politicians and trade unionists joined academics from across the world at the event for a round table discussion on labour migration and integration of third country nationals into the EU labour market.

While member states control the number of labour migrants admitted from third countries, a more coordinated approach will strengthen the EU single market and political union. The EU should offer a coherent framework that improves and harmonises the conditions, procedures, and rights for newcomers. Effective labour market policies and measures are important tools for member states to address persistent employment gaps between migrant and national populations.

Aydan Özoguz MP – former German Federal Government Commissioner for Migrants, Refugees and Integration, Umberto Constantini - Democratic Party Mayor of Spilamberto, Javier Moreno Sanchez MEP, and former UK Labour MEP Claude Moraes took part in the discussion alongside ETUC Confederal Secretary Liina Carr, Karl Flecker - an immigrant employment specialist from Canada, Medhi Lahlou - Senior researcher from the University Mohamed Morocco, and Antoine Savary, Deputy Head of Unit legal migration-integration unit, DG HOME.

Participants were welcomed to the event by PES Deputy Secretary General Marije Laffeber, FEPS President Maria João Rodrigues, and Carina Ohlsson, co-chair of the Network and member of the Swedish parliament for the Social Democratic Party.