AGE response to the stakeholder’s questionnaire on economic migration

AGE has submitted its response to the stakeholder’s questionnaire consultation managed by Ernst & Young on behalf of the European Commission on the “Impact Assessment on Community instruments on economic migration: Seasonal Workers, Remunerated Trainees and Intra-Corporate Tranferees”.

While economic migration can play a role in addressing the needs of the labour market and can contribute to helping to reduce skills shortages, AGE considers that equal attention must be paid to the social and economic rights of migrant workers including those working on a seasonal basis.

Putting too much emphasis on the purely economic dimension negates the human aspect of migration, regarding individuals as mere labour tools and can lead to unforeseen problems. Importing cheap and seasonal labour from third countries may seem an easy way to relieve staff shortages in sectors such as services, health (including the care of older people) and low skilled work but if such an approach is not supported by an adequate consideration of the needs of the individual worker and their family such as their financial security, need for housing, integration into the community, and future pension needs, then adverse effects can result in terms of fragmented societies and social exclusion among one of our most vulnerable groups.

AGE considers that the EU, in assessing its need for labour must take into account the real cost of labour beyond salaries/wages. That is to say, it needs to consider the cost of childcare, the education of children left behind and the impact on the care for the elderly dependent remaining in the country of origin.

AGE calls on the European Commission to carry out an assessment of the needs of ageing migrant men and women, including those of seasonal workers. The EU future migration policy must take a long-term perspective on migrant labour, looking ahead to when these workers are pensioners and no longer economically active. It needs to consider their care, housing, financial and social integration needs. These are the minimum considerations that should be given to past and future migrant workers who have/will play a vital role in contributing to the prosperity of the EU.

The full text is available here.

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