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June 2015

The Migration Newsletter

The Migration Policy Centre regularly publishes this newsletter to share recent developments in its research activities


SOLIDARITY PROJECT | ETEM | Migration and Innovation | Other MPC News | MPC Events



About the European Agenda on Migration

13 May 2015, the European Commission presented its blueprint for a European Agenda on Migration: this had been announced as one of the ten political priorities of President Juncker for his five-year mandate in A New Start for Europe. According to a press release sent out after a first orientation debate of the College of Commissioners, held 4 March, the four priorities of the European Agenda on Migration will be: 1) a Common Asylum System; 2) a new European Policy on Legal Migration; 3) fighting more robustly against irregular migration and human trafficking; and 4) the securing of Europe’s external borders. This comprehensive approach is very timely only three weeks after the worst ever irregular migration tragedy in the Mediterranean, 19 April, with the death of more than 800 immigrants. The subsequent European Council, held 23 April, approved some measures to tackle this problem. But the Council was widely criticized for limiting itself to fighting the modalities of irregular migration, rather than addressing the root causes in countries of origin and focusing on the rights of immigrants to protection and a decent life. It is the European Agenda on Migration that will provide a comprehensive framework to deal with all aspects of migration to the EU. It will integrate immigration and asylum policies, international cooperation and the protection of borders. The policy framework to be presented by the European Commission will be discussed and developed by EU institutions until the European Council approves it in the autumn of 2015.

As a contribution to any discussion the Migration Policy Centre has put together a set of four policy briefs dealing with the main areas of action for the European Agenda of Migration. They set out, concisely, the state of play at the EU level and the main challenges in each of the areas. The briefs explain the need to reform the current legislative and policy framework and to assess the need for an EU-wide approach on each issue. Finally, the MPC researchers propose a number of concrete ideas for action. These will serve as a kind of benchmark, against which the ambition of the European Agenda on Migration can be measured. The four policy briefs are also meant as a specialized contribution to the upcoming debate on these issues.

Iván Martín, Part-time Professor at the Migration Policy Centre

MPC Policy Briefs on the European Agenda on Migration


Consortium for Applied Research on International Migration from, to and through the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean countries

The CARIM-South Project, the first migration observatory focused on the Southern and South-Eastern Neighbourhoods of the European Union was set up, in 2004, at the European University Institute. A new phase of the project has now been launched by the MPC: it covers all South and East Mediterranean countries (SEM) countries: Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, as well as Mauritania and Sudan.

CARIM-South’s website has been renovated and made more user-friendly. The database section offers new statistical data as well as recent legal documents on migration from, to and through the 13 SEM countries. Demographic and legal material is updated, on a regular basis, by CARIM’s network of local experts in every SEM country. Data from major receiving states in the EU, in North America and Oceania, as well as in the Gulf region is also included in the database.

CARIM-South’s research activities and publications will focus on the “Reasons to migrate and profile of migrants from SEM countries since the Arab uprisings”. The programme will cover the four main categories of migrants: students, workers, family dependants and refugees.

Developing Evidence-based Management and Operations in India-EU Migration and Partnership

Recent research from the Demo-India project has highlighted the vulnerable position of Indian workers in the Gulf States. Although the Indian and some other South Asian governments have tried to apply pressure to Gulf leaders to raise labour standards and minimum wages, Gulf heads of state have been strongly re-sistant to labour changes. India has been, meanwhile, reluctant to press its case too strongly, as the Indian government is aware that Nepali and Bangladeshi workers, who are prepared to accept lower wages, will simply take the place of Indian workers. Nonetheless, there have been a number of initiatives at the subna-tional level aimed at helping Indian workers in the Gulf. The southern state of Kerala, for example, launched an extensive battery of welfare measures aimed at assisting returnees affected by Saudi Arabia´s nationali-sation efforts to re-integrate into the Keralite economy. Examples include subsidies for business creation, and subsidies to state firms that recruited at least 25% of new staff from Saudi returnees. However, despite the large budget involved, the rehabilitation programme has only been moderately successful. Rather than create new businesses or accept private employment in Kerala, most returnees have preferred to return to the Gulf, where not only are wages higher, but as there is social prestige associated with working abroad. The Indian government has also implemented a new social security scheme for Indian workers in Saudi Ara-bia and the UAE, giving free life insurance, and access to a state pension. The wide range of measures tar-geting Indian workers in the Gulf contrasts sharply with the paucity of measures and attention devoted to Indian workers in Europe. Though the largest part of the Indian diaspora lives in the Gulf, the European di-aspora is clearly neglected by comparison, especially low-skilled Indian workers living in Europe.

This paper will be available online on the MPC website shortly.

The Demo-India project is conducted together with the Indian Centre for Migration and co-financed by the European Union.

Gulf Labour Markets and Migration programme

By January, GLMM had collected, analysed and published more than 500 tables and more than 400 legal documents for Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. New data and documents are published weekly: The user-friendly GLMM website allows for the downloading, in pdf and Excel, of all information contained in the demographic-economic and in the legal databases, which can be retrieved through a variety of search options.

A number of papers were published recently, notably on Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the UAE:

The GLMM website also lists and reproduces articles that appeared in GCC English-language newspapers and contains now more than 4,000 articles:

GLMM is organizing a panel on “Irregular Migration to the Gulf: The role of legislation, policies and practices” at the Sixth Annual Gulf Research Meeting (GRM) Cambridge, 24-27 August 2015 where 20 original papers will be presented.

At present, GLMM is developing a number of regional comparative research projects – including irregular migration and fertility, as well as data analyses, pooling and harmonization.

For full information about the project:

The GLMM programme is conducted together with the Gulf Research Centre (GRC) and is financed by the Open Society Foundations (OSF).


Migrants’ integration in Europe

Completion of INTERACT project in March 2015

The aim of INTERACT was to study the integration of third-country nationals as a three-way process involving immigrants, and actors in both countries of emigration and countries of immigration. INTERACT produced:

  1. indexes measuring the level of integration of migrant populations by corridors (pairs of non-EU country of origin and EU country of destination) – three dimensions of integration are considered: labour market, education and access to citizenship;
  2. an overview of the immigration/emigration and diaspora policies;
  3. a cross-national survey of civil society organizations in origin and destination countries.

Sharing INTERACT results

Results produced by the INTERACT project were discussed at the Final Conference, which took place in Brussels, 27 February 2015. The conference highlighted the role played by origin countries, with a focus on labour market, political participation and social ties. It considered different levels of governance and presented an innovative method for the multifaceted study of migrant integration. Roundtable discussion with representatives of governmental authorities at destination and origin concentrated on how sending and receiving countries can cooperate on integration policy. Members of civil society organizations that work with immigrants contributed their insights to the conference debates.

Please consult the INTERACT website to find new publications. In particular a new section for media containing key findings, policy briefs and migration stereotypes has been created.

The INTERACT project is co-financed by the European Union.

CONTENTION - CONtrol of detention and REDIAL - REturnDIALogue

Based on research findings gained within the project CONTENTION, an article "Audi alteram partem in immigration detention procedures, between the ECJ, the ECtHR and Member States: G & R" was recently published in Common Market Law Review. Further findings are about to be published in the form of a Commentary to Article 15 of the Return Directive in the Second Edition of “EU Immigration and Asylum Law: A Commentary” (Hart Publishing). The research results, especially those relating to the assessment of a risk of absconding and the application of alternatives to detention were presented in Brussels at the MADE-REAL project’s Final Conference.

The bibliography relating to the EU Return Directive as well as the Annotated EU Return Directive providing the Strasbourg and Luxembourg case-law pertinent to the main provisions of the Return Directive can now be accessed on the newly launched REDIAL website. As regards the REDIAL database of national case-law, participating judges from Member States have already started submitting national judgments (with English summaries) relating to the interpretation of Articles 7-11 of the Return Directive: these will soon be online. Participating academic experts will write national synthesis reports on the basis of these this June. These national reports will be put together in a EU Synthesis Report to be discussed at the First Thematic Workshop, which will be held in Florence at the beginning of October 2015.

The REDIAL project team also intends to launch a blog on the recent European case-law developments on the EU Return Directive. Therefore, academic experts and judges specializing in this field are welcome to submit their proposals to the coordination team.

The CONTENTION and REDIAL projects are co-funded by the European Union under the European Return Fund
CONTENTION and REDIAL partners: the ODYSSEUS Network – ULB and the Centre for Judicial Cooperation


The implementation of a new research project commenced at the MPC in April 2015: namely the Solidarity Project. This project focuses on solidarity and responsibility sharing in the EU asylum policy. It has been set up with the understanding that asymmetric challenges in the field of asylum and irregular migration put common values, mutual trust and ultimately the freedom of movement inside the European Union at risk. Its core objectives are, first, to critically evaluate how the principle of solidarity and the fair sharing of responsibility has been operationalised to date. Second, it is to identify mechanisms that will make the implementation of solidarity more effective in the European Union and that will share responsibility equitably on the basis of objective criteria.

To that end, the project includes a series of actions: conceptual analysis of the scope of the notions of ‘soli-darity’ and ‘fair-sharing of responsibility’ in EU law; identification of objective criteria on the basis of which responsibility could be distributed fairly among the Member States; critical analysis of the existing forms of European solidarity; policy proposals for better implementing the principle of solidarity and fair sharing of responsibility; and finally an evaluation of the EU’s initiatives and cooperation with third countries in pro-tecting those forcible displaced. The implementation of the project brings together different disciplines: law, demography, economy, political science and international relations.

External Thematic Expertise on Migration to the European Commission

MPC facilitates two regional training workshops on migration and development in South-East Asia and West Africa

As part of the project External Thematic Expertise on Migration to the DG DEVCO of the European Commis-sion (led by the International Organization for Migration and with the MPC as partner), the European Com-mission is organizing two international training workshops on migration and development and EU coopera-tion in the field of migration and asylum: for South-East Asia (Bangkok, Thailand, 16-18 June 2015) and for West and North Africa (Dakar, Senegal, 15-17 September).

These training workshops are addressed to EU Delegation officers in each of the regions responsible for EU development cooperation projects in the field of migration and asylum. MPC will provide training on inter-national migration concepts and trends, migration and development, labour migration and regional-free-movement-of-persons schemes. Other topics covered in the trainings are EU policy dialogue frameworks on migration, integrated border management and development, refugees and internally displaced persons and the trafficking and smuggling of human beings.

The ETEM Project, led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the MPC, is financed by the European Union.



Migration and Innovation

Innovation is a key component of economic growth and Europe needs to catch up, given the arrival of new competitors like Korea, India, and China. The attempt by the European countries to attract tertiary educated migrants relies on the hypothesis that they contribute to innovation and economic development. For in-stance, the EU Blue Card directive is envisaged to favour the entrance of highly-qualified migrants.

MPC research has analyzed the impact of native and foreign human capital on sector dynamics of innova-tion in three European countries from 1995 to 2008: France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

One of the main results of this analysis is that an open migration policy to highly-educated migrants will not enhance a diffused increase in innovation. The positive and significant effect of the tertiary educated for-eign worker is present only in high tech sectors. By using two different proxies of innovation (Patent regis-tered and Total Factor Productivity) the results do not change a lot. Skilled migrants play a significant role in enhancing innovation only in the high tech sectors.

In addition and contrary to the research developed at regional level, at sector level the diversity of country of origin does not play any significant role. The previously documented positive effect might simply catch the increasing returns due to the complementarities between the different sectors in which migrants of different nationalities are concentrated. To conclude, a migration policy, like the Blue Card directive, which intends to spur innovation, should adjust the entrance to the demand for labour without focusing on the mix of countries of origin. Rather, it should be concerned with the human capital of the worker and the link between the governance of new inflows and labour market management.

MPC publications will shortly be available on this topic.


MPC selected for the EU’s Expert Group on Economic Migration

4 March, the European Commission launched its work on a comprehensive European Agenda on Migration, taking up on one of the commitments of the Juncker Commission, which included migration among its top ten political priorities (A New Start for Europe). 13 May, the Commission published the set of proposals which will be discussed by Member States until they are approved by the European Council in Autumn 2015.

As part of this process, the DG Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission has established an Informal Expert Group on Economic Migration “to support the future policy development in the field of economic migration, for instance skills, labour shortage, economic migration Directives, such as the EU Blue Card, including the assessment of shortcomings and further improvement”.

The Migration Policy Centre has been selected as one of the 21 members of the Expert Group. The first meeting of the Expert Group took place in Brussels, 25 March, and those present discussed “Better manag-ing Labour Migration at the EU level" and the reform of the EU Blue Card Directive. The MPC is preparing a written contribution to the Expert Group.

MPC contributes to European Commission Brainstorming on Challenges for International Cooperation and Development

13 March 2015, the Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development of the European Commission (DG DEVCO) organized a Brainstorming Session on International Cooperation and Develop-ment. The purpose of the brainstorming was to facilitate an exchange between Commissioner Mimica and the senior staff of DG DEVCO with a group of experts and main development think tanks. The four topics discussed during the brainstorming were: Gender, Inequalities, Security and Migration.

MPC focused on the root causes of migration, highlighting the complex relations between development and migration (in the early stages of development, migration tends to increase rather than decrease) and migra-tion and development (the link is very ambiguous, and has to be analyzed at local and sectorial level rather than at the national level). One of the conclusions was that south-south migration is not a substitute for south-north migration, and that the income and wage differentials determining south-south migration are often as big as in the case of South-North migration. Finally, some action points were suggested to strengthen the migration and development nexus through EU development cooperation.


MPC Annual Conference, 1-2 July 2015, EUI, Florence

The 2015 Annual Conference of the Migration Policy Centre (MPC) will be opened by two keynote speeches by Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General of the International Organization for Migration, and by Matthias Ruete, Director General for Migration and Home Affairs at the European Commission. It will gather high level international academics, policy-makers and professionals together to tackle topical issues in the field of migration on the basis of MPC research results: migration from conflict areas to Europe, transnational bonds and migrant integration, migration and the future of Europe, migration and development.

For further information on the conference and to register, please consult our special webpage.

MPC Summer School, 22 June-3 July 2015, EUI, Florence

Migration is a critical issue for governments at all levels, and both sending and receiving societies. Partici-pants of in the Eleventh Migration Summer School will study, through a variety of disciplinary approaches, the challenges that migration poses for countries of origin and destination. In countries of origin, migration can bring development, through various forms of remittances, but it can also exacerbate already existing socio-economic inequalities. In countries of destination, host societies benefit from new sources of labour, but many find it difficult to ensure the full integration of immigrants and their descendants. In the European context in particular, a number of countries are currently struggling with how to modify citizenship laws that exclude European-born children of foreign parents.

More than 200 applications were received, of which 25 were selected to participate.