Labour migrants from Central and Eastern Europe in the Nordic countries

Patterns of migration, working conditions and recruitment practices

image of Labour migrants from Central and Eastern Europe in the Nordic countries

This report presents the results from a project that has aimed to generate new comparative knowledge about labour migration from Central and Eastern Europe to the Nordic countries, the factors that shape wage and working conditions for labour migrants and recruitment processes and practices. In the report we:

- Describe and compare patterns of labour migration between Central and Eastern Europe and the Nordic countries.

- Compare the working conditions of Polish labour migrants in in Oslo, Copenhagen and Reykjavik – and analyse how their labour market situation is shaped by variations in national regulations, systems of collective bargaining and local labour market structures.

- Analyse the particular role of recruitment agencies in introducing new migrants to the Nordic labour markets.

The research has been conducted by a team of researchers from Fafo (Norway), FAOS (Denmark), CIRRA/MIRRA (Iceland), CMR (Poland) and SOFI (Sweden).



Mapping the market for employment agencies in Poland

The free movement of workers within the “European Common Market” is one of the four basic economic freedoms of the European Union. However, actual mobility level within European countries tends to be relatively low within native populations (EU 2010). One of the reasons behind it could be that the process of matching on the labor market that takes place across the national borders is much more complicated and costly when compared with the one of natives (Martin 2005). The language and cultural barriers and, above all, absence of internationally recognized job descriptions and worker credentials make it difficult for employers to recruit foreign labor, as they need to evaluate the skills and abilities of potential new employees. The recent OECD report confirms that the automatic recognition applies only to seven out of more than 800 professions (OECD 2012). To some extent the migration networks play an important role in the process of matching as friends or relatives abroad can recommend to their employers those who are willing to migrate. Moreover, members of migration network channel the information and provide members of sending communities (which also are the members of the same network) with information about the employment opportunities and on the situation on the labour markets in receiving countries. They also may convince those who are reluctant to move by offering them help in adaptation (i.e. offering accommodation for the period of searching for job abroad).


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