Logo Assembly Logo Hemicycle

Migration as an opportunity for European development

Doc. 14335: compendium of written amendments | Doc. 14335 | 27/06/2017 | Final version

Caption: AdoptedRejectedWithdrawnNo electronic votes

ADraft Resolution

1The economic development of Europe depends upon its capacity to better utilise people’s skills and talents and promote innovative technologies and businesses. In a time of economic and political crisis in Europe, all efforts should be deployed to create cohesive societies, enabling the full and active participation of every member in their development and economic growth.
2The number of migrants, including both refugees and economic migrants, has significantly increased in recent years, presenting a number of challenges and opportunities for Europe. The absence of a co-ordinated migration policy at European level has paved the way for the rise of ungrounded fears amongst the European population, fears which have been subsequently exploited by some political forces and media outlets to present a distorted image of migration as a threat.
3The Parliamentary Assembly is very concerned about this negative approach to migration. In fact, there is a divergence between the reality of the economic and demographic situation of Europe and the general negative perception of the consequences of migration. Shortages in the labour force in a number of sectors, including farming, construction, hospitality, catering, information technology and financial services, and population ageing as a result of increased life expectancy combined with low birth rates, all lead to a significant reduction in the proportion of the working age population and show that migration could be very beneficial for Europe, if only the necessary policy measures were implemented.
4During the last decade, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), migrants accounted for a 70% increase in the workforce of Europe. In recent years, they have represented 15% of new entries into strongly growing occupations such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In some European counties, population growth in recent years was only possible because of a migration influx. In addition, migrants bring diversity to European countries, contributing to cultural exchanges and having an important impact on arts, sports, fashion, media and cuisine.
5The Assembly considers that there is an urgent need to counter the negative rhetoric used against migration and to bring to the public’s attention the economic evidence of its benefit to European society. All public and private actors should be involved in formulating new evidence-based migration policies for Europe, centred on its potential for development.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 5, second sentence, after the words "evidence-based", insert the following words: ", realistic and forward-looking".

Explanatory note

To reap the benefits of migration, member States have to adopt a strategic approach to regulating migration.

6The Assembly believes that to optimise the benefits of migration for Europe, it is necessary to eliminate a number of bureaucratic barriers and practices of covert and overt discrimination against migrants, which significantly hinder their integration into host societies.
7It also considers that to gain advantage in the global competition for the most highly skilled specialists, European countries should increase labour market transparency and create more legal opportunities for migration to Europe.

In the draft resolution, paragraph 7, before the words "legal opportunities", insert the word "safe":

Explanatory note

Pathways for migration must involve safe procedures, safer than the current "hotspots". 

8The Assembly underlines that to harness the benefits of migration, well-devised policies should be implemented, including at local level, which would promote knowledge of different cultures and traditions while at the same time integrating migrants into the host societies. Such policies would prevent possible conflicts and eradicate the negative image of migrants.
9The Assembly is convinced that to facilitate mutually beneficial migration to Europe, member States should take concrete measures in areas which have a positive impact on migration. Therefore, it recommends that member States:
9.1improve national legislation by:
9.1.1simplifying migration procedures for skilled workers whose qualifications respond to national economic needs;
9.1.2providing clear regulations on the employment of unskilled migrants and seasonal and domestic workers;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.1.2, after the words "seasonal and domestic workers", insert the following words: ", as well as providing opportunities and integration measures that specifically target low-skilled and less educated migrants".

Explanatory note

Low-skilled and less educated migrants could also be very beneficial for Europe, if only they received the right support in the form of opportunities and integration measures.

In the draft resolution, at the end of paragraph 9.1.2, insert the following words: "and by ensuring that migrants are guaranteed equal pay and working conditions to native people for equal work".

9.1.3shortening asylum procedures and consider granting access to the labour market to asylum seekers even before completion of the procedure;
9.1.4introducing the right to vote and to stand in local elections for all regular migrants after five years of residency in the host country;

In the draft resolution, replace paragraph 9.1.4 with the following paragraph:

"consider introducing the right to vote and to stand in local elections for all regular migrants after five years of residency in the host country in accordance with national legislation;"

9.1.5introducing relevant provisions punishing discrimination against migrants;
9.2facilitate the access of migrants to the labour market by:
9.2.1developing policies and action plans promoting the inclusion of migrant women in the labour market by addressing their specific needs;
9.2.2improving admission conditions for the best students and researchers from non-European countries and providing them with attractive employment opportunities;
9.2.3promoting effective co-operation between governments and business communities on the development and funding of vocational training for migrants;
9.2.4supporting business initiatives of migrants by offering micro loans;
9.2.5involving representatives of the private and public sectors, as well as trade unions and migrant organisations, during the revision of national migration policies;
9.3promote inclusive societies by enabling the full and active participation of migrants in all aspects of life by:
9.3.1promoting targeted national regularisation programmes for irregular migrants;

In the draft resolution, delete paragraph 9.3.1.

9.3.2promoting and financially supporting local initiatives, including initiatives of migrant organisations aimed at increasing the participation of migrants in the life of local communities;
9.3.3providing all migrants with free access to civic orientation courses in the host country;
9.3.4providing opportunities for language learning for migrants;
9.3.5ensuring that language and citizenship classes are made available to asylum seekers and refugees;
9.3.6developing educational programmes in schools to promote knowledge of different cultures, languages and religions;

In the draft resolution, after paragraph 9.3.6, insert the following paragraph:

"ensuring access to affordable and adequate health services for all migrants, regardless of their legal status;"

Explanatory note

Next to education and citizenship, access to health care is paramount to promoting inclusive societies by enabling active participation of migrants. The WHO Health Evidence Network report (2016) shows that definitions used for different groups of migrants and their legal status determine migrants’ access to affordable and adequate health services.

9.3.7encouraging migrants’ active involvement in the activities of political parties, trade unions and migrant and diaspora associations;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.3.7, before the word "migrants", insert the following word: "regular".

Explanatory note

The term regular migrants is used throughout the report. This amendment aims to ensure consistency.

9.3.8facilitating the naturalisation processes of migrants after five years of regular residence in the host country;

In the draft resolution, paragraph 9.3.8, before the word "migrants", insert the following word: "regular".

Explanatory note

The term regular migrants is used throughout the report. This amendment aims to ensure consistency.

9.4co-operate to create a European system to facilitate social security protection for all working migrants and their families, protecting the social and economic rights guaranteed in the European Social Charter treaty system and based on the standards set in the European Code of Social Security (ETS No. 48) and its Protocol (ETS No. 48A).
10The Assembly encourages more co-operation between the Council of Europe, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the OECD and the European Union, with a view to promoting a positive image of migrants in Europe by developing joint activities in the fields of human, economic and social development.

BDraft Recommendation

1The Parliamentary Assembly, referring to its Resolution … (2017) on migration as an opportunity for European development, underlines that in order to ensure that migration into Europe has beneficial consequences for both migrants and the host countries, the member States should take concrete measures to optimise the impact of migration on European societies.
2The Assembly welcomes the important work in this area accomplished by various Council of Europe bodies and institutions, including intergovernmental activities, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights and the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Migration and Refugees. However, it regrets that there is no intergovernmental body in the Council of Europe to specifically promote Council of Europe standards among the member States.
3The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers considers the feasibility of creating, possibly as an enlarged partial agreement in co-operation with the European Union, a European migration and intercultural development observatory, which would assist Council of Europe member States in the development of strategies, legal frameworks, action plans and specific projects in the field of migration.