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Mobility of labour from new EU states to the Nordic Region

Development trends and consequences

image of Mobility of labour from new EU states to the Nordic Region

This report sums up the developments in labour migration from the member countries to the Nordic Region since EU enlargement in 2004, the consequences for the labour markets in both the Nordic Region and in the countries of origin, the main features of the political initiatives and adaptation strategies adopted by the Nordic countries, and the most important challenges that the Nordic countries will face in this area in the future. The report points out that Western Europe and the Nordic Region have experienced significant and increasing mobility of labour from the new member countries since 1 May 2004. It concludes that greater mobility, particularly from Poland and the Baltic countries, has been a contributory factor to higher growth and lower inflation in the Nordic countries than would otherwise have been possible in a period of prolonged economic prosperity and increasing labour shortages. It also states that the challenges in the Nordic countries have primarily been associated with the growth in in-service mobility and postings away from home. In addition, the report confirms quite significant emigration of workers from Poland and the Baltic countries since 2004, which has led to shortages of labour in those countries. It concludes that even though employment levels have risen significantly, especially in the Baltic countries, the main challenge for these countries will continue to be how to further increase domestic employment levels. This report constitutes the final product of the expert group on EU expansion set up by EK-A in 2004, the mandate for which expired on 1 December 2007.

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Development of labour mobility – seen from the recipient countries

Three years after the enlargement we can ascertain a certain pattern in the labour migration from the new member states, although the available data and statistics still remain so unsatisfactory that caution is called for when conclusions on the total volume and patterns of the new labour mobility in Europe are to be drawn (GDISC 2007). Both the recipient countries and the countries of origin have a fairly good overview over total in- and out-migration, but most countries lack reliable data with regard to the flows and groups of persons who are temporary residents in order to work or perform services. The repeal of the transitional arrangements also implies that several countries cease registering short-term residency, while at the same time the influence exerted by these arrangements on the direction of the flows will decrease. It is therefore uncertain whether the geographical mobility patterns that we have observed during the initial years are likely to continue.

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