Regulation of EU Labour Migration: At a Crossroads after the New Pact on Migration and Asylum?



The 2020 New Pact on Migration and Asylum could have been the perfect opportunity for the Commission to address and overcome the crisis in the field of a common EU labour migration policy by getting it back on track. But nothing was further from the truth. The attention which the Commission devotes to the subject of EU labour migration in the New Pact is disappointing. It even seems as though the Commission is abdicating its responsibility and leaving it up to the Member States to make national policy in this area. EU labour migration policy has always been a battle ground between the EU and the Member States. It has led to a highly fragmented EU policy that is proving to be ineffective and is generating resistance rather than contributing to a common policy. This article describes and analyses the EU labour migration policy as it has been shaped since 2000, framing it in a post-crisis dilemma. After the failure of an ambitious proposal for a common comprehensive approach to the admission and residence conditions of third country national workers in general, the Commission opted for a sectoral approach, which so far has led to the establishment of four labour migration Directives, namely for highly skilled workers, seasonal workers, intra-corporate transferees and a single permit for residence and work procedure. Due to the 2015 refugee crisis, the Commission has mainly focused on asylum-related issues during the last few years. With regard to EU labour migration regulation, barely any new initiative has been taken. The only EU institutional player which seriously challenges the addressing of the post-crisis situation in this area is the European Parliament. Are we at a crossroads regarding the regulation of EU labour migration?


labour migrationEU regulationNew Pact on Migrationcompetencescommon EU policy
  • Year: 2021
  • Volume: 17 Issue: 4
  • Page/Article: 31–44
  • DOI: 10.36633/ulr.749
  • Published on 15 Feb 2022
  • Peer Reviewed