Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

Like other high-income countries, Austria is an attractive destination for many labour migrants who compensate for the existing labour shortages in a wide range of economic sectors and occupations. Immigrants from the East predominantly fill vacancies in Accommodation and Food, Cleaning and Support Services, and Agriculture economic sectors. While the Austrian economy benefits from immigration, emigration affects the origin countries whose working-age populations have been shrinking and giving rise to economic and social tensions.

The new policy brief "Labour migration from East to West: The example of foreign workers in Austria" authored by Mr Stefan Vogtenhuber and released by the Prague Process Migration Observatory uses the immigration of workers from the Eastern countries to Austria as an example to discuss the labour flows and analyse their impact on sending and receiving countries.

The brief argues that when imposing stricter immigration regimes that allow for skilled immigration only, receiving states should consider that such policies may increase the brain drain in sending countries. Policies that reduce the brain drain and contribute to positive feedback effects in the way of remittances or the transfer of knowledge are recommended for sending countries. Considering that migration is a common challenge that calls for cooperation at all policy levels across regions, which are highly interwoven economically, policymakers should be able to closely monitor the demographic trends and the phenomena associated with international migration in both sending and receiving countries.

To preview and download the brief please use this link.

The Prague Process Migration Observatory announces the release of the new policy brief "Armenia's migration cooperation with the European Union and Eurasian Economic Union" authored by Ms Haykanush Chobanyan, Head of the External Relations Division of the State Migration Service of Armenia.  

This policy brief aims to analyse Armenia’s cooperation on migration with the European Union (EU) and the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), looking in particular at the resulting simultaneous efforts and obligations, as well as their impact on the national migration policy and actual flows experienced.

To preview and download the brief please use this link.

The second Prague Process webinar “The impact of the Corona-crisis on migration” with Professor Rainer Münz took place on 15 May 2020.

The webinar addressed possible scenarios of how labour migration might evolve in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. Effects distinguished between several groups such as migrant workers prevented from leaving or entering a country because of travel restrictions; migrants becoming unemployed as a result of the recession triggered by anti-COVID 19 measures and irregular migrants living in COVID 19 affected countries. Professor Rainer Muenz discussed how past labour shortages witnessed until recently in many countries of destination were to be understood in the context of the simultaneous explosion of unemployment rates and rapid digital transformation of work. He also compared the current situation with related experiences from the financial, public debt and banking crises 2008-2010.

The webinar recording is available in two formats: the first only contains the presentation of Prof. Münz, while the second one represents the full-length video recording of the webinar, entailing also the Q&A session.

To watch the shorter version, please go here

To watch the full-length video, please go here

To read more about the possible scenarios of how migration can look in the future, please see the Prague Process Policy brief "How will migration to Europe look in the Future? Trends, open questions and four plausible scenarios" authored by Prof. Münz.

The Prague Process Migration Observatory continues to release new publications. Today, we gladly present you the new policy brief "How will migration to Europe look in the Future? Trends, open questions and four plausible scenarios" authored by Prof. Rainer Münz, Former Adviser on Migration and Demography to President J.C.Juncker during his time in office (2014-2019), now JRC-KCMD.

The policy brief looks at the migration trends of the past 20 years, outlines open questions to be addressed by national migration policies and makes an attempt to set forward four plausible scenarios of how migration to Europe may look in the future. In doing so, the brief also considers the impact of the CoVid-19 pandemic on migration. The four scenarios envisage the following:

  1. ‘Back to the early 2000s’. Rights-based admissions would still play a more important role than labour migration so that many third-country nationals settling in Europe would likely not immediately join the labour market. 
  2. Migration could be driven by the ‘Instability in the neighbourhood’. Scenario two assumes large-scale future population displacements affecting Europe.
  3. ‘More selective admission of immigrants’. This scenario assumes that shortages of labour and skills in a number of EU Member States could trigger major migration policy changes: a shift from present admission criteria to a stricter skills-based selection of labour migrants and/or to a more demand- and employer-driven selection.
  4. ‘Going native’. Scenario four assumes that migration policies become ever more restrictive, coupled with a general political consensus on such restrictions and a social climate in which migrants are not welcome.

To preview and download the brief please use this link.

Restrictions on human mobility combined with social distancing measures are the main strategies applied by the majority of governments across the world to stall the spreading of the COVID-19 disease. Consequently, these restrictions alone have fundamentally affected economies, education and transportation systems, tourism industries, agriculture and even consumption markets. However, with global mobility close to zero, internal and international migration experienced the most obvious and drastic changes. For many people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA), which only 3 decades ago lived in one state, mobility within the region is a fundamental part of their lives. For some, migration is essential and sometimes the only way to access education, find employment, reunite or visit families spread across the region and beyond. For some, migration is the only pathway to survive.

The new ICMPD paper "Migration and Mobility in Eastern Europe and Central Asia: What to expect in times of COVID-19?" authored by Violeta Wagner et al. looks at some of the most significant consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on migration and mobility within and from the EECA region. Particularly, it discusses the evolvement of labour migration, growing patterns of irregular migration, the impact on migrants’ individual situation, the potential rise of xenophobia and discrimination, and, finally, the expanding inequality between the countries in the region.

To preview and download the brief please use this link.

The Prague Process webinar ‘Assessing the EU’s External Migration Policy’ with Kristof Tamas, Director of the Stockholm-based Migration Studies Delegation (Delmi), will take place on 18 June 2020 at 10:30 CET.

Kristof Tamas will provide his assessment of the EU’s External Migration Policy, while also reflecting upon the recent impacts of the coronavirus in this area. The webinar will look at how the EU’s external cooperation on migration has revolved around the Global Approach to Migration (and Mobility) since 2005 (2011) and the Migration Partnership Framework under the European Agenda on Migration since 2016. It will focus in particular on the role of Migration Dialogues in the process of finding common ground with third countries and propose new ways to accommodate the interests of partner countries within this cooperation framework.

The webinar will be based on the findings of the policy brief with the same title ‘Assessing the EU’s External Migration Policy’ authored by Kristof. You may get acquainted with the brief here.

The 5th Prague Process webinar ‘Maximizing labour migration outcomes in the Prague Process corridors: Practices on how to benchmark countries of destination in June 2020’ with Andrea Salvini, Independent Advisor on Labour migration, will take place on 2 July 2020 at 10:30 CET.

The webinar will help participants familiarize with diagnostic tools to compare countries of destinations, especially focusing on low- and medium-skills sectoral shortages. Methods to assess skills shortages will be touched upon with in-migration systems, integration prospects, working and living conditions, as well as wages analysed so as to maximize remittances gains. Government officials from both countries of origin and of destination will have the opportunity to discuss trade-offs between circular and long-term migration policy options, as well as how to adapt TVET components of both pre-departure and post-arrival services to strategic needs. The webinar will also shed light on some implications brought about by the COVID19 crisis and policy responses witnessed by June 2020.

Please register to the webinar through following the link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_KWNwdNaWQm-ON60yJ3L-yw. You will receive the link to the webinar room, as soon as your registration is approved.

The new January-March 2020 issue of the Prague Process Quarterly Review is now available for download in English and Russian.

This issue of the Quarterly Review is published in times of major uncertainty. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world. Like any major crisis, it immediately exposed the weaknesses of existing national and international systems and agreements while also making the most vulnerable even more susceptible. While an increasing number of countries are under lockdown, the first ones are already thinking of lifting some of the restrictions introduced. The economic impact of the ongoing crisis remains unknown but the meltdown may be unprecedented.

The longer-term impacts of COVID-19 on migration also remain to be seen. What is the future of labour migration? How will families get by without the remittances existentially needed? When will migrant workers be able to return home, and are they desired to do so at all? Will the criminal services of traffickers and smugglers become ever more demanded but also more brutal in view of the witnessed border closings? What will happen to refugees and internally displaced persons? How does the pandemic affect border management or integration? What about the migrants whose residence and work permits are currently expiring?

This Quarterly Review addresses some of the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on migration and entails news items related to the coronavirus and others that originate from ‘pre-corona’ times.

To see all issues please go to the section "Quarterly Review" under News & Events.

The coronavirus pandemic negatively impacts Ukrainian labour migrants who form the largest group of foreign workers in Poland, Italy, Czechia, and Hungary. The challenges that migrants encounter nowadays include unemployment and the loss of their livelihood because of the crisis, overstays, and difficulties with return when countries impose travel bans for foreigners. Meanwhile, the host country economies suffer from the lack of migrant farmworkers who are essential for the food supply chains.

The four EU member states address these issues with varying success. This policy brief "The Impact of COVID-19 on Ukrainian Labour Migrants in Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Italy", authored by Ruslan Minich and Pavlo Kravchuk, aims to show what measures work and what do not. For instance, the host countries may allow for online applications and organise journeys for seasonal workers from Ukraine to sustain their food supply chains. Meanwhile, Ukrainians toiling and moiling abroad would benefit from longer-term stay permits to find a new job and from being relieved of the required connection to a particular employer or position. More information in the Ukrainian language would help labour migrants to protect their rights and get some host state support. Furthermore, chatbots may help to manage the communication overload suffered by the competent authorities. Tailor-made support and more options of return would assuage the plight of those who lost their livelihood.

To preview and download the brief please use this link.

The first Prague Process webinar “The possible impact of COVID-19 on the EU’s demand for high-skilled migrants” with Mr Glen Hodgson, Founder and CEO of the Independent Think Tank Free Trade Europa, took place on April 16th.

It offered an analysis of the current state of play amid the ongoing pandemic and assessed its potential future impact on the EU’s labour market. In particular, it looked at possible short and mid-term impact of COVID-19 on labour shortages in the EU and the future of skilled work; existing shortcomings of the relevant EU acquis through the COVID-19 lens and possible solutions; ongoing swift digitalisation and the need for high-qualified migrants to support industries; migration management tools to sustain national economies and welfare systems in the post-coronavirus period.

The webinar is based on the Policy brief “Intra-corporate Transferees (ICTs): The benefits for the EU and the opportunity cost”, published within the Prague Process Migration Observatory.

You can watch the video recording of the webinar in English or in Russian.