Enhancing cooperation among the Prague Process states

Much is said and written about the platform economy with many reports and studies highlighting that the majority of jobs will be freelance and plat­form-based within a few years. In the new Policy Brief “Migration and the Platform Economy”, Glen Hodgson looks at what perspectives the platform economy can provide to migrants. Third-country nationals cannot get locked in a tech­nology-facilitated parallel economy which leads to unstable incomes, limited training and social isolation. The COVID-19 crisis has led to rising unemploy­ment and the recovery is likely to be characterised by increased labour market flexibility. Significant demand remains in some sectors - for both low and high-skilled workers - and the platform economy can help in turning black jobs white and integrating migrants into host country labour forces. Work permits should be granted to migrants where jobs are available, while efforts should be made by all stakeholders to build trust in the platform economy through collaboration and the establishment of a Code of Conduct.

To preview and download the brief please use this link.

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, took place on 2 July 2020.

The webinar helped participants to familiarize with diagnostic tools to compare countries of destinations, especially focusing on low- and medium-skills sectoral shortages. The methods to assess skills shortages were 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 had 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 also shed light on some implications brought about by the COVID19 crisis and policy responses had been witnessed by June 2020.

The webinar recording is available in two formats: the first contains the presentation of Andrea Salvini only 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

The 4th Prague Process webinar ‘Assessing the EU’s External Migration Policy’ with Kristof Tamas, Director of the Stockholm-based Migration Studies Delegation (Delmi), took place on 18 June 2020.

Mr Tamas provided his assessment of the EU’s External Migration Policy, while also reflecting upon the recent impacts of the coronavirus in this area. The webinar looked at how the EU’s external cooperation on migration had 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 focused in particular on the role of Migration Dialogues in the process of finding common ground with third countries and proposed new ways to accommodate the interests of partner countries within this cooperation framework. The webinar was based on the findings of the policy brief with the same title ‘Assessing the EU’s External Migration Policy’ authored by Kristof.

The webinar recording is available in two formats: the first contains the presentation of Kristof Tamas only 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

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

Already at the time of publishing the previous issue of the Quarterly Review, it was clear that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic would affect all thematic areas of the Prague Process. A few months later, we can only confirm this assumption. Mobility has halted, many labour migrants and regular travellers are stuck in limbo, remittances have dropped, asylum seekers could not file applications, and return became practically impossible. The focus on the negative trends has dominated the public and political discourse over the past months. For this reason, people get increasingly worried about the future. All current events and political strategies are observed through the coronavirus lens.

Yet, the virus also unveiled some positive developments. Many countries regularised swiftly the stay of migrants and tourists who could not leave because of the imposed travel restrictions. Some went a step further and almost equated the rights of stranded migrants with those of their citizens to ensure the disbursement of social benefits. Germany, for instance, suddenly allowed short-term migrants to seek employment. Moreover, a wave of civil initiatives helping migrants with shelter and food has appeared. The pandemic also forced states to rethink the role of labour migrants in various vital occupations, as they proved critical for the national economy and health systems.

These past few months have also been extraordinary for the Prague Process Secretariat. We successfully launched the Prague Process Webinar series and organised the first online training. These online events gathered many actors who would otherwise not have been able to participate in the usual face-to-face meetings. These various remote activities have hopefully provided a useful tool for state officials to remain informed and keep up with their daily work.

This issue will provide you with a short overview of the activities implemented over the past three months, as well as wider regional developments. It also features a few reading recommendations, including the latest Policy briefs of the Prague Process Migration Observatory. 

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

The third Prague Process webinar 'The Impact of COVID-19 on Ukrainian Labour Migrants in the EU' with Ruslan Minich and Pavlo Kravchuk took place on 28 May 2020.

The webinar reflected upon the situation of Ukrainian labour migrants, who constitute the largest group of migrant workers in Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Italy, in particular, and inside the EU as a whole. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, labour migrants lose their jobs and livelihood, overstay their visas, residence and work permits, whilst also encountering various challenges in their attempts to return home. Meanwhile, the host countries suffer from the lack of migrant farmworkers who are essential for the food supply chains. Pavlo and Ruslan outlined which of the migration policy measures introduced in response to COVID-19 have worked and which have not, proposing some practical solutions that could inspire other countries as well.

The webinar recording is available in two formats: the first only contains the presentation of Ruslan Minich and Pavlo Kravchuk, 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

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.