English, Article edition: Migrations and their Role in the Integration of Western Europe Gudrun Biffl

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  • article
Language
  • English

Edition details

Title
  • Migrations and their Role in the Integration of Western Europe
Author
  • Gudrun Biffl
Physical Description
  • article
Notes
  • This paper presents a review of the theoretical viewpoint of the role of migration in socio-economic processes in the light of actual migratory processes within the different regions in Europe and the role of migration policy in structuring and accommodating migration. Labour migration within the EU is marked by the changing role of the individual member countries in the development of economic growth. The catching-up process of Southern European countries was accompanied by the convergence of income levels and the drying up of labour surplus, which led to a decline of outmigration from Southern Europe to Northern Europe. While during 1975 4.4 million foreigners had worked in the 6 founding member countries of the EC, of whom 48 percent from other member countries of the EC 6, the number of foreign workers in the EU 6 had increased somewhat to 4.8 million by 1995, whereby the share of workers from another EU 6 member country had declined to 42 percent. The limited dynamics of total migration within the EU masks the fact of substantial restructuring of migration flows by skills. Workers with low and medium skills from EU countries tended to return to their countries of origin, while, in the wake of the development of a new division of labour and specialisation, highly skilled workers moved to the regions, which became financial, business and technological centres in the North. Today some 6.5 million foreigners are employed in the EU 15. The share of foreign workers in the EU 15 amounts to 5 percent. 2.7 million or 42 percent of all foreign workers are from another EU country. The penetration of individual EU labour markets by employees from another EU country is thus in spite of free labour movement within the EU rather small and averages 2 percent. In contrast the mutual integration of EU labour markets with Switzerland is very pronounced, and can only be compared with Luxembourg, in spite of legal constraints to migration. Currently about 863,000 foreigners are employed in Switzerland, i.e., some 22 percent of the total work force. 75 percent are EU citizens. Also the Nordic labour markets, which have introduced free labour movement as early as 1954, have a greater mutual integration than EU labour markets. In Sweden, the country which has attracted the largest number of foreign workers, currently some 218,000 or 5.5 percent of the work force are foreigners; 41 percent are from another Nordic country. The generous integration policy, which is in stark contrast to the restrictive naturalisation policy of Switzerland, masks the fact that Sweden has experienced immigration to the same extent as Switzerland. The share of foreign born in total population is, therefore, a better indicator of the extent of immigration than the share of foreign citizens.
  • Migration und ihre Rolle in der Integration Westeuropas; Migrations and their Role in the Integration of Western Europe
  • RePEc:wfo:monber:y:1999:i:7:p:499-513
Language
  • English
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