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Materials

13 January 2005

European Commission issues Green Paper on an EU Approach to Economic Migration

Release issued by: Elspeth Guild,  partner at the London law firm Kingsley Napley

 

European Commission issues Green Paper on an EU Approach to Economic MigrationPress Release issued by Elspeth Guild a partner at the London law firm Kingsley Napley

On 12 January 2005 the new Commissioner for Freedom, Security and Justice, Franco Frattini, announced the issue of a Green Paper on economic migration. The main thrust of the Paper is to revitalize the EU competence for access to the EU and its labour market. Although the Commission issued a proposal for a directive on labour migration in 2001, the member States have been very reluctant to move forward on adopting common rules. The Commission’s proposal has only got so far as a report from the European Parliament. 

The Green Paper highlights the ageing of the EU population and while it carefully avoids suggesting that immigration is a solution in itself, it nonetheless does just about that. In order to achieve a common EU policy, law and practice in the field the Commission’s Green Paper seeks advice from interest groups and the public. EILN members may well have clients interested in the consultation process or which may wish to be kept informed on the progress of the Green Paper.

The Commission proposes three general options:

1. Should the EU adopt a horizontal approach: a set of rules of entry and residence and specific rules on categories where there are substantial numbers, ie seasonal workers, intra-corporate transferees etc.

2. Should the EU adopt a sectoral approach: this has been done for students and researchers, a series of directives on specific sectors;

3. Should the EU adopt a common fast track procedure for skills gaps fields?

Regarding the horizontal approach, one of the key issues which the Commission does not address directly is the difference among Member States between those which apply only a domestic EU labour force displacement test (ie is there a shortage) and those which additionally apply a skills level test – ie even if there is a shortage no third country national will be admitted unless the job is sufficiently skilled. 

Regarding admission procedures, the Commission seeks comments on just how flexible and market responsive admission procedures should be. The possibility of an EU selection system is suggested which, it seems, would provide a “clearing house” of approved third country nationals for member States to admit. The module used is the EURES EU labour vacancy system, best known by its absence from common knowledge regarding available jobs.

The Commission also seeks submissions on the rights which third country national workers should have regarding:

1. Change of employer;

2. Acquisition of secure legal status;

3. Accompanying measures: integration return and cooperation with third countries.

The Commission is also seeking views on whether there should be a priority given to third country nationals already present in the EU over those coming for the first time to take up employment.

There is a deadline of 15 April 2005 for responses to the Green Paper. They can be submitted by email jls-economic-migration@cec.eu.int (in any of the EU languages).

Notes:

The Green Paper is available by clicking on the link below: 
Click here

For further information please contact:

Elspeth Guild Phone: (44) 0207 814 1200
Email: eguild@kingsleynapley.co.uk