Implications of Population Change: Labour migration

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Anne Green, Principal Research Fellow at the University of Warwick's Institute of Employment Research, speaking at a workshop on population change hosted by the West Midlands Regional Observatory in …

Anne Green, Principal Research Fellow at the University of Warwick's Institute of Employment Research, speaking at a workshop on population change hosted by the West Midlands Regional Observatory in Birmingham on 31 March 2009.

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  • 1. Labour Migration Anne Green Institute for Employment Research University of Warwick A presentation given at State of the Region: Implications of Population Change event, 31 March 2009. This presentation forms part of the Observatory’s ongoing State of the Region dialogue between policy makers and researchers on the theme of population change.
  • 2. WMRO – 31 st March 2009 Implications of Population Change: LABOUR MIGRATION Anne E. Green Institute for Employment Research University of Warwick, UK [email_address]
  • 3. Introduction
    • Policy context for interest in geographic mobility – especially short-term international mobility
    • EU :
    • mobility as a key element of the Lisbon Strategy and European Employment Strategy
    • freedom of movement as a founding principle of the EU
    • Action Plan on Skills and Mobility 2002
    • EU enlargements in 2004 and 2007 – transitional arrangements
    • EURES – European Employment Services job portal – information, advice and job-matching services
    • New Skills for New Jobs agenda
    • Non-EU : PBS
    • Economic context – from economic growth to recession
  • 4. The geography of A8 migrant stocks and flows (1)
    • Policy interest in both stock and flows (gross and net) – in the context of literature pointing to more temporary and short-term migration
    • speed and scale of migration are important determinants of local impacts – and have implications for cohesion – “recessionary racism”
    • Migration as a spatial phenomenon :
    • previous migration flows tended to focus on major cities
    • A8 migration is more spatially dispersed and shows a greater orientation to rural areas than previous migration flows
  • 5. The geography of A8 migrant stocks and flows (2)
    • At national level WRS registrations peaked in 2006
    • In all regions there was a substantial reduction in WRS registrations between the latter part of 2007 and 2008
    • reductions were particularly marked in northern England, Wales and Northern Ireland
    • In all urban-rural categories in England there was a reduction in substantial reduction in WRS registrations between late 2007 and late 2008
    • reductions were least marked in large urban areas and the most sparsely populated rural areas
  • 6. The geography of A8 migrant stocks and flows (3)
    • Considerable local variation in migration trends
    • Changes in migration stocks and flows are likely to be felt in different ways in different places because different areas play different roles in the migration system
    • gateway areas – first to feel a reduction in in-flows, but if migrant in-flows are maintained but migrants stay for shorter periods they are less likely to be impacted than are
    • secondary destinations
    • Volumes and length of stay matter
  • 7. Economic and non-economic factors in understanding migration
    • Economic motivations for migration predominate but non-economic factors play a role too
    • Role and importance (irrespective of economic conditions) of the English language - English language skills as ‘desirable’ in most European countries and help in ‘moving on’
    • Social networks may help sustain migration flows even when initial triggers decline in importance - and may also help facilitate migration flows elsewhere)
    • Role of exploration / discovery – likely to remain important
  • 8. The migrant’s frame of reference
    • A migrant has a dual ( or triple) frame of reference – relative attractiveness – in economic and non-economic terms - of:
    • the destination (i.e. the UK)
    • the origin (i.e. the home country)
    • competing destinations (i.e. alternative destinations other than the UK)
    • Migrant decision-making may be more complicated than a simple comparison of economic conditions in the destination and the origin country
    • Relative importance of different factors in different places is likely to vary between individuals
  • 9. Project on Short-term International Mobility (for European Commission)
    • Short-term international mobility is a particular type of geographical mobility of longer duration than weekly commuting but not involving a permanent change of residence
    • blurring between different types of mobility – scope for substitution of different types as one morphs into another → challenges for definition
    • Short-term : UN definition is 3-12 months, but interest in 1-12 months
    • Methods : Literature review, Data search and review, Interviews with EURES advisers
  • 10. Workers’ geographical mobility
  • 11. Visitors and migrants – duration of move
  • 12. Selected terms and definitions
    • Short-term / temporary mobility
    • Commuter assignments
    • Expatriate
    • International cadre/ Career expatriates
    • Internship
    • Placement
    • Posted worker
    • Rotational assignment :
    • Seasonal working
    • Secondment
    • Virtual assignment
  • 13. Literature review: key issues
    • Dearth of empirical studies focusing specifically on short-term international mobility
    • International transferees within large corporations :
    • short-term international mobility is becoming increasingly important - due to cost pressures and HR issues
    • mobility is often project-based and focuses on technical skills transfer
    • Free movers: studies tend to be less common
    • some adopt a biographical approach
    • the consensus is that short-term international mobility is difficult to measure
  • 14. Evidence from EURES advisers and relocation specialists
    • Highlighted importance of short-term international mobility, while being unable to quantify trends
    • important role of private sector recruitment agencies
    • Motivations for short-term international mobility :
    • prompted by project requirements
    • a way of escaping unemployment
    • economic motivation – earn more money elsewhere
    • need to gain (international) work experience – and language skills
    • ‘ discovery migration’
  • 15. Synthesis
    • There is no single universally accepted definition of a ‘short-term international assignment’
    • Short-term international mobility is one aspect of workers’ mobility
    • There is limited information on several of these dimensions – ‘ known unknowns’
    • No one ‘typical’ individual engaged in short-term international mobility – from managers and professionals in international corporations to unskilled workers engaged in less skilled work
    • Most movers are relatively young
  • 16. Review of statistical data: general issues
    • Distinction between:
    • stocks : the number of movers present at a particular point in time
    • flows : the number of moves
    • The most mobile groups are the most difficult to capture in statistical data sources and shorter duration moves are more difficult to capture than longer duration ones
    x x Time x x x y y y y y X = start of move Y = end of move Individuals T 1 T 2 T 3 Time x x x y y y y y X = start of move Y = end of move Individuals T 1 T 2 T 3 A B C D E Individuals’ contribution to a stock estimate of short-term moves
  • 17. Key data sources
    • No single data source provides comprehensive information on geographical mobility
    • No population registration system
    • Survey and census sources
    • International Passenger Survey (IPS); estimates of Total International Migration; Census of Population; Labour Force Survey; ad hoc local surveys
    • Administrative sources
    • National Insurance numbers registered to overseas nationals; Worker Registration Scheme; Work permits
    • Development of e-borders
  • 18. Improving intelligence
    • Principle of free movement means that it should be possible to move freely between Member States without providing details of a reason for moving or of intended length of stay
    • Possibility of conducting Web surveys on movers’ motivations, changing intentions, etc, to derive intelligence on emerging trends and issues
    • Consider how and whether to make greater use of other labour market intermediaries in deriving intelligence on trends in volume of short-term international mobility and characteristics of movers
    • Possibility of sectoral case studies on short-term international mobility
    • Longitudinal study – want to develop a study following up migrants in the West Midlands as they move
  • 19. Contact details Anne Green Institute for Employment Research University of Warwick E [email_address] T +44 (0)2476 524113 Web www.warwick.ac.uk/ier/ Stephen Howarth Deputy Chief Executive West Midlands Regional Observatory E [email_address] T +44 (0)121 202 3258 Web www.wmro.org Blog http://wmro.wordpress.com Rosie Day Research Analyst West Midlands Regional Observatory E [email_address] T +44 (0)121 202 3286 Web www.wmro.org Blog http://wmro.wordpress.com