15 Sep 2017

Labour Migration to Europe: What role for EU regulation?

Mikkel Barslund / Matthias Busse


In recent years, the focus in the EU has been on controlling irregular migration flows of third-country nationals. Less attention has been given to the issue of shaping managed migration, in particular labour immigration from third countries. This study delves into the role of the EU in facilitating labour migration to EU member states. The Blue Card Directive is one of the main policy tools at the disposal at EU level, but its uptake remains low, raising questions over the added-value of the Blue Card and why some member states continue to rely on national schemes. The study also explores whether and how the Blue Card might be opened up for a wider range of applicants to provide more legal immigration pathways for foreign job-seekers of different skill-levels.

This study is published as chapter 10 in the CEPS Paperback book Pathways towards Legal Migration into the EU: Reappraising concepts, trajectories and policies, edited by Sergio Carrera, Andrew Geddes, Elspeth Guild and Marco Stefan. It can be freely downloaded here.

Mikkel Barslund is Research Fellow and Matthias Busse is Researcher in the Economy and Finance research unit at CEPS.