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S&Ds: We need migration to sustain economy and welfare state as EU labour gaps widen


24 Nov 2021


Social Europe & Jobs

The S&D Group is backing a strong message from the European Parliament that says: “we need migration” in the EU, especially in responding to big labour market shortages in the future.

S&D MEPs believe reducing barriers to legal migration is the most effective way to close the skills shortages gap across EU labour markets, while are the same time ending the exploitation of migrant workers and reducing the number of irregular migrants to the EU.

The Commission’s Migration Pact, presented in 2021, features commitments to come forward with legislative proposals on legal migration. The report debated today, and being voted on tomorrow, sets out the European Parliament’s ambitious ideas including new schemes for low-skilled employment.

Cyrus Engerer, S&D negotiator on legal migration policy and law, said

“The European Union needs labour migrants at all levels.  For this reason, we are calling on the European Commission to set up a long-term future-proof fair admission scheme for third-country nationals that are interested in contributing to the European economy.  Such a system must also ensure the recognition of verified qualifications from outside the Union and ensure a harmonised process across member states.  The underground and unregulated human resources market is not only exploiting third-country workers, but is contributing to the drain of all workers’ rights and privileges across Europe.  This must end now.  All workers are human beings and all human beings must be treated with dignity and given those benefits that enhance their protection at their place of work.

The labour gaps currently being experienced in the European Union will only widen in the coming years if nothing is done.  We have the most ageing population in the world and it is clear that we will not have enough workers to sustain our economy and our welfare state by 2050.  It is time for the Commission to act and propose legal pathways for migrant workers.”

Note to editors

The opening line of the report on legal migration policy and law cites the 2020 Ageing Europe report showing that the share of EU inhabitants aged 65 years or over is projected to be around one third of the Union population by 2050.

A 2021 study from the European Parliament’s Research Service highlights that the introduction of new legal channels for migrants to enter the Union for work could generate up to EUR 37,6 billion in GDP gains per year.