Dossier Mobility and Inclusion – Managing Labour Migration in Europe

Dossier Mobility and Inclusion – Managing Labour Migration in Europe

Challenges & Policies

Labor migrantLabor migrant. Foto: Farfahinne. Creative Commons License LogoDieses Bild steht unter einer Creative Commons Lizenz.

Mobility encompasses the right and the freedom of movement. In order to ensure that this condition can be maintained, the general perspective on mobility must change.
Migrants cannot be purely perceived as a ‘commodity’ or some sort of human investment, nor can the shortage in human labour in Europe be easily replaced by recruiting temporarily from abroad. Instead, taking mobility seriously means to re-think the challenge of migration transforming European labour policies tenable, long-term solutions.

Gervais Appave defines labour migrants as a 'resource' that must be treated delicately. He ascribes the increase in human mobility to the deliberate decision by the EU choosing economic growth as the primary policy goal.

Ibrahim Awad, highlights that also medium and low skilled labour is in demand. Europe's multiple unintegrated labour markets complicate migration, with the Blue Card providing only little relief.

Herbert Brücker und Carola Burkert analysieren die Vor- und Nachteile einer Angebots- oder nachfrageorientierten Steuerung der Zuwanderung.

Western societies in Europe are growing old fast and life expectancy is rising. Professor Rainer Münz sheds light on possible policy solutions for a shrinking active workforce.

Zirkuläre Migration wird nicht selten als migrationspolitisches Allheilmittel dargestellt. Das ist sie nicht. Gunilla Fincke etwa sieht in ihr eine große Chance, weil sie versuche Win-Win-Situationen für alle zu schaffen.


The dossier addresses the issue of growing labour mobility supply and demand within the European continent and challenges social, legal and economic policies restricting this process.


The dossier addresses the issue of growing labour mobility supply and demand within the European continent and challenges social, legal and economic policies restricting this process.

Towards Inclusion

An inclusive society needs to fulfil various functions: Openness and tolerance are one set of characteristics and integrative legal measures, such as naturalisation, are another. Regarding the formal structures of this process of inclusion European member states have not lived up to their duties. Germany’s integration politics and jurisdiction lacks satisfactory inclusionary measures integrating migrants into society. Altering these conditions is mandatory for a country facing and requiring increasing immigration.

Dietrich Thränhardt observes that despite a growing need for immigration in Germany, numbers are decreasing and except for rhetorical assurances integration has worsened in the past decades. He sees new chances for the EU with the opening of labour markets to the new members if bureaucratic obstacles are reduced.

Die Türkei entwickelt sich zu einem attraktiven Einwanderungsland, sagt Sozialwissenschaftler Kamuran Sezer. Er untersucht die Merkmale der Auswanderung vieler in Deutschland lebender Türken zurück aus Deutschland und stellt: viele gehen nicht für immer.

Krista Sager kritisiert, dass noch immer große Chancen vertan werden, die sich aus dem Potenzial mitgebrachter Bildungsressourcen für die Wissensgesellschaft, den Arbeitsmarkt und integrationspolitisch ergeben. Dies geschehe vor allem, weil die Möglichkeiten, ausländische Abschlüsse in Deutschland formal anerkannt zu bekommen, völlig unzureichend seien.

Realities & Perspectives

The realities that migrants are exposed to in receiving countries vary widely. But discrimination of one sort or another is an experience they all are confronted with. Often discrimination is a structural problem. Therefore, the different aspects fuelling discrimination especially against female, unqualified, and illegal migrants must be understood comprehensively in order for them to be efficiently countered.


Jane Hardy examines the special relationship between Poland and the UK. She sees migration as a 'revolving door', a relationship of extensive traffic between East and West, highlighting that 'deskilling' and 'gatekeeping' negatively affect large numbers of Polish migrants.


Research on female labour migrants has been generally neglected in the discourse of global labour migration. Eleonore Kofman and Parvati Raghuram refute the assumption that female migrants are unemployed because they do not have skills, tracing misconceptions of gender discrimination in employment against migrant women.

Agnieszka Fihel analyses the trajectories of Polish migration to Western Europe finding that host countries determine their share of migrants with their immigration policy regulations. Also, reversed migration due to the global financial crisis depends on the economic situation of the host country.

Wadim Strielkowski acknowledges many different reasons why Eastern Europeans migrate to Western Europe, prioritising psychological factors and fair financial reward, so called pull factors, as the most significant aspects.

Since special skills and family reunions are increasingly the only legal way to enter Europe, people find themselves pushed to search for other ways. The journalist Antonio Cruz portrays three real life examples of illegal migrants and their experiences living in Belgium