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EU Labour Migration during the Crisis

Bela Galgoczi

The paper will address critical issues related to intra-European migration, some of which emerged from our previous research (Galgoczi et al 2009) , others which arise due to changing political and economic circumstances.The evident serious mismatch between immigrant workers' skills and the jobs they actually perform in the receiving countries strongly suggests that naive views about labour flows and 'factor equalisation' are not appropriate to the real world. Based on the second research phase the paper will focus on two key issues: the skills and qualifications of A10 migrant workers in EU-15 receiving countries and on the impact of the crisis on intra-EU migration patterns.There is evidence that migrant workers tend to work in destination countries below their existing qualifications. Relevant questions in this regard include: How transferable are skills across borders? Do 'suitable' (in terms of qualifications) jobs exist in home countries? What share of migrant workers is able to move to higher-skilled jobs after an initial adjustment period? How is this reflected in migrants' earnings? Do migrant workers experience human capital augmentation (or depreciation) during their time abroad and what does that imply for jobs they get on their return? What are the country differences in this regard brought about by different transitional labour market policy measures, labour market structures, institutions and policy approaches?The second key question will be the impact of the economic crisis on migrants' labour market status and perspectives. To what extent has the crisis led to increased return migrants and what does data allow us to say about their fate? Have those that have stayed been disproportionately affected by unemployment and in how far are they covered by unemployment benefits? What can be said about the different characteristics of such workers? The main analysis will be based on EU LFS data.

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