C Explanatory memorandum
by Mr Andrea Rigoni, rapporteur
Ways and means to enhance the
positive role of migration have been highlighted in several of the Parliamentary
Assembly’s reports and resolutions, in particular in the recent
Resolution 2124 (2016)
on educational and cultural networks of migrant and
diaspora communities, Resolution
“Integration of migrants in Europe: the need for a proactive,
long-term and global policy” and Resolution 1972 (2014)
“Ensuring that migrants are a benefit for European host
which the Assembly addressed a number of issues, such as recognition
of qualifications; access to the labour market during the asylum
application process; employment opportunities for foreign students;
involvement of the private sector in identifying labour shortages
in different sectors of the economy; and developing joint strategies
I initiated this report as a follow-up to my previous report
on “Democratic participation for migrant diasporas” and its Resolution 2043
(2015) adopted by the Assembly in 2015.Note
resolution stressed the importance of diasporas’ involvement in
the economic, social and cultural development of their countries
of residence. The present report also constitutes a reaction to
the increase in xenophobic and anti-migrant rhetoric in many European
countries in the context of the ongoing refugee and migration crisis.
It challenges the common misconception that migrants are a threat
to the local population by taking their jobs and exploiting social
security systems. It provides concrete examples of how migrants
contribute to increasing economic growth and to the creation of
national wealth. It draws the attention of the authorities of member
States and their societies to the positive impact of migration on
European economic development and analyses European policies which
should contribute to taking full advantage of the opportunities
provided by migration.
3 In this report, I use the term “migrants” in a narrow sense,
applying it to regular migrants and recognised refugees. However,
in some specific sections of the report I refer to the particular
problems faced by asylum seekers or irregular migrants, and in such
cases, I clearly specify the category.
4 The aim of this report is to suggest concrete actions to facilitate
win-win results in relation to the migration phenomenon in Europe,
by learning from errors of the past and adapting to the fast-changing
realities of today’s society. The report will also demonstrate the
advantages of accepting asylum seekers and refugees and creating
opportunities for them to become regular migrants.
5 During the preparation of the report, I conducted two fact-finding
visits to Luxembourg (20-21 December 2016) and to the United Kingdom
(11-12 January 2017) and would like to thank the national delegations
of these countries and their secretariats for their support in the
organisation of these missions. The findings of these missions are
reflected in this report.
2 Contribution of migrants to European
The refugee crisis, which was
provoked by a number of armed conflicts in regions close to Europe,
has created a significant influx of migrants into Europe during
the last few years. Many European countries have shown solidarity
and empathy by welcoming refugees; however, due to a distorted image
of migrants presented by the media and manipulation by some political
parties, the misconception that migrants are a threat to local populations
and will take their jobs and exploit social security systems has
become a dominant theme amongst the European population. 52% of
European Union residents have expressed a negative attitude towards
the increase in migration flows to EuropeNote
7 This negative attitude towards migration has led to a political
crisis in Europe, with a significant rise in populist anti-migrant
movements, inspired by certain right-wing parties. The migration
issue – an issue which was exploited and manipulated by pro-Brexit
parties – was one of the main causes of the vote to leave the European
Union in the United Kingdom. Generally speaking, the migration problem
in Europe has demonstrated a large divergence between the reality
of the situation, and the image it has acquired.
The reality in the world today is that over 1 billion people
are migrants. Among the top 10 countries who are welcoming migrants
are five European countries: Germany (12 million registered migrants),
the Russian Federation (11.9 million), France (7.8 million) and
Spain (5.8 million). A number of European countries have a significant
proportion of their population living abroad: Bosnia and Herzegovina
(with 43% of the population living abroad), Albania (over 39%),
Armenia (over 31%), Portugal (over 22%) and Ireland (19%).Note
9 The migration flows into Europe will only increase, not only
because of the crises in Syria, Iraq and Libya, but also because
of the globalisation of the labour market and the natural desire
of people to seek a better job and better living conditions. Climate
change and natural disasters will also influence the migration process. Therefore,
policies which are aimed at closing frontiers and building walls
will never bring about the expected results. People will continue
to move around and additional restrictions will only increase irregular
10 Moreover, the economic, demographic and cultural development
of Europe proves contrary to the negative rhetoric: Europe needs
migrants for its future growth and prosperity.
to economic growth
During the last decade, 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.Note
is expected that the demand for highly skilled workers in Europe by
the end of 2020 will increase significantly; up to 13.5 million
12 Many European countries, especially members of the European
Union, are experiencing shortages in the labour force in a number
of sectors of the economy, including farming, construction, hospitality,
catering, information technology and financial services, which are
partially covered by the migrant labour force.
13 Migrants are also more willing to take the jobs which are
not attractive to the local population, especially in sectors such
as cleaning, catering and domestic work for women, and agricultural
work, construction, and semi-skilled jobs in manufacturing for men.
In Luxembourg, for example, economic sectors such as construction,
hospitality and catering are totally dependent on the migrant working
force. Furthermore, there is a significant contribution of seasonal
migrants to the agriculture sector.
In contradiction to most populist anti-migrant rhetoric stating
that migrants are a heavy burden for the social protection system,
the recent OECD study on the fiscal impact of migration for all
European OECD countries showed that migrants contribute more
in taxes and social contributions
than they receive in individual benefits.Note
Luxembourg and Switzerland, migrants “provide an estimated net benefit
of about 2% of gross domestic product (GDP) to the public purse”.Note
facilitating the access of migrants to employment opportunities
would not only respond to the vital needs of migrants, but also
benefit the economic development of the host country.
The examples of such countries as the United Kingdom and Luxembourg
show that skilled migrants contribute a lot to the economic and
scientific progress of these countries. Among EU countries, the
United Kingdom is attracting the highest number of university-educated
migrants, who work primarily in the financial, technological and
In general, skilled migrants
contribute more to the host country than the native population,
as the host country does not bear the expenses of their education
and professional training.
16 Migration provides important potential for the development
of the private sector. Migrants are very interested in creating
commercial links with their countries of origin and are sharing
innovative ideas with private companies on how to fill gaps in the
market and how to better profit from existing opportunities. They can
also act as consultants on the transfer of technologies and investment
In general, migrants complement the local labour force, rather
than replace it; as in many European countries, the labour legislation
favours the local employees. However, in some cases migration can
indeed increase unemployment among the local population, as was
reported in southern Turkey, where a large number of Syrian refugees
arrived. The local population who subsequently lost their jobs had
worked mostly in the informal sector, therefore the arrival of refugees
for whom the only possibility to get a job was in the informal sector
created tense competition in the local labour market.Note
18 It is very important to mention the contribution which migrants
make in their countries of origin through remittances, transfer
of knowledge and creation of joint enterprises. In some countries
like Armenia and the Republic of Moldova, remittances sent by migrants
constitute up to 14% and 25% respectively of national gross domestic
19 As a result of the globalisation of the labour market, all
countries are competing to attract the most skilful specialists
worldwide. In future, this struggle for brainpower will only become
fiercer and only countries which provide better living conditions
for skilled migrants, ensuring their security, high living standards
and social inclusion for them and their families, will obtain the
most qualified labour force.
on demographic development of the population
According to the analysis made
by Ms Kristin Ørmen Johnsen in her report on “The impact of European population
dynamics on migration policies”,Note
the trend of ageing amongst
European populations will only accelerate in the future as a result
of increasing life expectancy and insufficient rates of fertility.
It will lead to a decline in the labour force, which will inevitably
create a need to attract young skilled migrants.
21 Proactive migration policies could significantly improve the
demographic situation in Europe. Recent statistical data has shown
that in some European countries, population growth was only made
possible because of a migration influx. The reduction of the workforce
in Europe will result in strong economic consequences, as fewer
people will be contributing to pension financing, consumption will
fall and social protection will be limited. As the majority of migrants
are coming to Europe for work and tend to be of a working age, between
22 and 45 years of age, their participation in European labour forces
will help to reduce the dependency ratio.
In Germany, a country with negative natural demographic growth,
the population increase in 2015 was only due to the growth in population
of people with a migration background, who now account for 21% of
the country’s total population.Note
In Luxembourg, the foreign population has contributed to natural
demographic growth, which sees a surplus of 2 150 births, while
a birth deficit of -18 was registered among the native population.Note
24 In Scotland, according to data provided by an expert from
the COSLA (Convention of Scottish Local Authorities), 90% of the
projected increase in population over the next 10 years will be
due to migration, assuming continuing levels of the current inward
25 Certainly, the problems of European demographic development
cannot be solved only through migration; however, policy makers
should make better use of the current migration flows by developing
long-term migration strategies responding to the current needs of
the European economy.
on cultural development
26 Migrants representing different
cultures and traditions bring diversity and contribute to cultural exchanges.
In countries such as Switzerland and Luxembourg, where the migrant
population is respectively 26% and 47%, cultural diversity has become
an everyday reality, with new ways of intercultural communications
and cultural exchanges.
27 Migration has a big impact on sports in Europe. A large number
of migrants are young people and they are choosing sports activities
as a means to integrate into the local community. This big interest
has led to a number of professional athletes of foreign origin representing
their host countries at the Olympic Games and various world championships.
28 The influence of the cultures of migrants has had a significant
impact on European artistic, fashion and eating trends, leading
to more diversity.
The significant presence of migrants in some European countries
has also had its influence on the mass-media. The media has developed
a number of programmes for and with the participation of migrants.
There is an increasing tendency toward the diversification of media
output in Europe.Note
30 Multicultural societies create new perspectives and are much
more attractive for economic opportunities; therefore countries
with a high proportion of foreigners achieve higher levels of development
and economic progress.
31 In a long-term perspective, migration can have a positive
impact on European society by making it more tolerant and diverse,
and more open-minded.
to facilitate win-win results in relation to migration in Europe?
32 The European economy, population
and cultural development have undergone important transformations
under the influence of migration flows; this process is irreversible,
as I mentioned earlier. Our task is to discover how we can achieve
the best win-win results for our societies and for the well-being
33 There are several factors which directly influence the impact
of migrants on European development. The major factor is the access
of migrants to the labour market. Here, regrettably, migrants are
faced with a number of legal and administrative barriers which prevent
their smooth integration into European labour forces and expose
them to exploitation and discrimination. Other important factors
are migrants’ inclusion into the host society and their participation
in cultural and political life.
discrimination and barriers to access in the labour market
34 Despite the evident need for
migrant labour forces in many European countries, a number of bureaucratic
barriers and cases of hidden and open discrimination against migrants
continue to complicate their life and integration into the host
The latest International Migration Outlook report by the OECDNote
which show that employment rates of migrants in most OECD countries
remain below those of nationals, while the unemployment rate of
both new and settled migrants exceed that of the native population.
36 Newly arrived migrants encounter more difficulties in finding
a job than settled migrants as they lack the language skills of
the host country, experience problems with recognition of their
diplomas, are frequently overqualified and enter into competition
with native-born people who, in many European countries, have priority
in employment over migrants. They also experience difficulty in
obtaining information on local employment opportunities, regulations
and requirements, and do not have the necessary contacts to get
this information. The uncertainty as regards their residence status
significantly limits their employment opportunities.
37 Migrants who are confronted with legal and administrative
barriers are very often forced into the shadow economy, where they
can be exploited and experience violence and abuse.
38 It is therefore necessary to include provisions in the national
legislation which regulate the migrant workforce. It is also crucial
to prescribe clear regulations on their access to working visas
and work permits, as well as ensure recognition of their diplomas
and professional qualifications. Labour legislation should include a
simplified procedure for skilled workers whose qualifications respond
to the economic needs of the European market. As regards low-skilled
employment areas; this sector is very poorly regulated in many European countries,
especially in relation to the employment of domestic workers. It
would be important to develop common European standards on the employment
of migrants for these types of jobs. Also, for seasonal and low-skilled
workers, governments should create legal migration opportunities
as alternatives to the illegal methods which irregular migrants
may use to access work opportunities.
Particular attention should be paid to the situation of asylum
seekers and refugees. They often face administrative restrictions
in accessing the labour market, in particular in becoming self-employed.
Only a small number of European countries grant immediate access
to the labour market to asylum seekers. For example, Greece, Norway,
Portugal and Sweden do not apply any restrictions on the access
of asylum seekers to the labour market. On the other hand, in Ireland
and Lithuania, asylum seekers have no access to the labour market
throughout the whole procedure.Note
Access to education for the children
of asylum seekers and refugees is also not adequately guaranteed
in many host labour markets and should be assured at an early stage
of the status determination procedure.
40 With regard to the problem of recognition of diplomas of migrants,
it would be important to develop European qualification and competency
standards, which could resolve this issue.
41 During my fact-finding visits to Luxembourg and the United
Kingdom, the trade union representatives made it clear to me that
very often the lack of implementation of labour legislation and
bureaucratisation of the migration process create the biggest obstacles
42 At the policy development level, there is a significant lack
of data and analysis on the impact of existing legislation on the
different categories of migrants and statistics on their involvement
in the European labour force. In order to effectively develop a
new evidence-based migration policy, European countries should collect such
information on a regular basis.
43 Representatives of the private and public sectors, as well
as of trade unions and migrants’ organisations should be involved
in the revision of national legislation and labour migration policies.
44 The role of diaspora networks is also important in supporting
newly arrived migrants and providing them with necessary information
on the particularity of the host labour market and administrative
rules in the host country. Overall, free and easy access to information
for migrants on the labour market should be facilitated by the host
countries, as it is essential to match the economic needs of the
local markets with the migrants’ specific skill sets.
of the private sector
45 The private sector has a particular
interest in helping migrants to smoothly integrate into European labour
There are some very good examples of private sector initiatives
which are helping to find employment opportunities for refugees.
One example is the “Welcome Talent” programme run by LinkedIn in
Sweden, which compiles talented migrants into database pools, which
could then be consulted by employers. The system can also provide
migrants with training on how to create an effective LinkedIn profile.Note
In Germany, skilled manual labour enterprises have an urgent
need for workers to cover unfilled positions. Big companies such
as Deutsche Telekom, Evonik, Bosch Group, Uniqlo and Siemens provide training
corporations such as Daimler even requested that the Bundestag
adopt legislation allowing
refugees and asylum seekers to work after having spent one month
in the country.Note
The sports sector can be very helpful in the promotion of
better social and work participation of migrants and refugees. In
Germany, for example, the football club Bayern Munich created a
“training camp” which offered food, German language classes and
football equipment for young refugees. Moreover, in February 2016,
this club raised 1 million euros at a friendly match to support
integration projects in Germany.Note
49 In Finland, some private companies have entered into partnerships
with the government in order to provide bank accounts, prepaid debit
cards and mobile payment accounts to refugees.
It is interesting to note that migrants often demonstrate
more entrepreneurial interest than the native population. In the
United Kingdom, for example, self-employment among migrants is higher
than among the native population. In Luxembourg, some studies have
shown that there is large potential for entrepreneurship among first
generation migrants, especially among highly educated people.Note
it is important to support any entrepreneurial initiatives of migrants
by eliminating bureaucratic barriers to their access to credit and
necessary documentation, and providing them with the necessary logistical
support and professional training.
51 The private sector could also support business initiatives
of migrants by providing them with microcredits. They could also
benefit from migrants’ inside knowledge when developing investment
projects in their countries of origin, which could create jobs and
provide development opportunities for these countries.
52 Private sector engagement in devising effective migration
policies which respond to labour shortages in concrete sectors of
the economy should be actively encouraged by governments. They should
promote effective co-operation by developing and funding necessary
vocational training for migrants, and elaborating strategies on
how to encourage the migrant labour force to become involved in
less attractive sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.
53 Governments should also encourage the private sector to employ
refugees by providing information on potential benefits for the
company of the cultural diversification of their labour force.
The subject of integration
of migrants has become a hot topic of current political debates.
In her report, Ms Susanna Huovinen looks into the particular aspects
of integration of refugees in times of critical pressure.Note
In my opinion, the failures of integration
policies in many European countries have led to the negative connotations
related to the term “integration”. The integration of migrants is
perceived by many actors as the obligatory process of acquiring
language knowledge and basic courses on the functioning of the host
society prior to obtaining residence status. Language knowledge
has become an indicator of the integration of the migrant into the
host society; however the reality has shown that even with a perfect
fluency of the host language, migrants could be segregated and even
55 Therefore, I believe that integration should be replaced by
a social inclusion process; a process of creating conditions which
enables the full and active participation of every member of society
in all aspects of life; including civic, social, economic, and political
activities, as well as participation in decision making. Social inclusion
should involve all members of society – not only the migrant population;
everybody should learn how to live in a multilingual, multicultural
and multi-religious community.
The Council of Europe was one of the first international organisations
to develop an Action Plan on Building Inclusive SocietiesNote
which provides a number of actions to assist its member States in
managing Europe’s diversity by promoting mutual understanding and
respect. This action plan includes a number of important initiatives,
as set up by a working group on refugees’ qualifications, such as
the creation of the “No Hate Parliamentary Alliance” and the promotion
of the “Guidelines to combat radicalisation and manifestation of
hate at grassroots level” adopted by the Council of Europe Congress
of Local and Regional Authorities. I am pleased to mention that
our committee’s idea for the creation of a “Parliamentary Network
on Diaspora Policies” has also been included in this action plan
and this network will be launched in September 2017 in Lisbon.
57 Social security of migrants is one of the most important aspects
of their inclusion process. Generally speaking, social protection
is one of the conditions of social inclusion and is a very good
investment in the economic development of the country. As local
authorities play a primary role in the social inclusion process, it
is very important to promote positive local initiatives, which could
be endorsed further at European level.
In France, a Solidarity City Network was created to exchange
best practices in welcoming refugees and mobilising citizens to
help them. At the initiative of the City of Strasbourg and the Italian
municipalities of Catane and Rovereto, this network was extended
to European level by launching the “European Solidarity City Network”
in October 2016. With the help of the Congress of Local and Regional
Authorities, the best practices of this network on public policies
on the reception and involvement of refugees were compiled in the “Vademecum”.
This guide will allow European cities to learn from each other’s
experience and co-operate closely on the issue of reception of refugees
A very interesting initiative was developed at regional level
in Scotland, called the “New Scots Strategy”Note
which is aimed at co-ordinating
all efforts of the organisations involved in supporting refugees
and asylum seekers. The Scottish regional community has also developed
a Migration Policy Toolkit, designed to help local authorities and
their community partners to understand local demographics and to
support the implementation of policies for migration.
60 However, in some particular situations like in Luxembourg,
the social inclusion process becomes rather complicated even for
European citizens. To facilitate this process, the Luxembourg Reception
and Integration Agency has developed a Welcome and Integration Contract;
an instrument to promote the active involvement of migrants in Luxembourg
society. It is offered to all migrants with residence in the country
on a voluntary basis. Migrants who have signed the contract can
benefit from discounts for language courses, free citizenship courses
and a free orientation day (a programme to familiarise migrants
with the official bodies and organisations in Luxembourg).
an intercultural society
61 Culture is arguably one of
the quickest ways of building bridges between people of different
origins and backgrounds; but only long-time investments in policies
and strategies promoting intercultural dialogue can bring noticeable
results in the mentality and behaviour of people.
62 However, a lack of knowledge of the host society, its culture,
language and traditions creates major obstacles for migrants’ entrance
onto the labour market. Therefore, it is very important to make
accessible to all migrants civic orientation courses focusing on
everyday life in the host country.
63 The promotion of a culturally diverse workforce creates new
opportunities for international businesses through the sharing of
different cultural perspectives, innovative ideas and new international
partners. The private sector and business communities should encourage
cultural diversity in their companies by providing diversity training
programmes for their staff, and funding language and professional
training for migrant workers.
64 Knowledge of the language of the host society is essential
for migrants’ survival in the host country. Therefore, it is important
to provide opportunities for language learning for migrants not
only in the host countries, but also in the countries of origin,
in preparation for their departure. In this regard, special language courses
developed by cultural institutes such as the Alliance Francaise,
the Goethe Institute, the Dante Alighieri society and the British
Council can be very useful.
65 The Council of Europe programme on Linguistic Integration
of Adult Migrants (LIAM) provides governments with good practices
and policy recommendations on language courses for migrants.
66 In many European countries, asylum seekers and refugees can
benefit from language and citizenship courses only after a certain
period of time of residence in the host country. It greatly hampers
their opportunities of inclusion in the host society and of finding
a job. Language and citizenship classes should be made immediately
available to asylum seekers and refugees, regardless of their status
in the asylum procedure.
67 Education has a key role to play in the promotion of an intercultural
society. Schools and other education establishments should be prepared
to welcome children and students speaking a language other than
that of the host country. Special educational programmes should
be developed to promote knowledge of different cultures, languages
and religions. I believe that this issue will be more widely explored
by our committee in the forthcoming report on “Integration, empowerment
and protection of migrant children through compulsory education”.
68 Migrants with a high level of education have a better chance
of entering the workforce in Europe. Therefore the efforts of local
authorities to provide educational opportunities for migrants and
refugees have a real positive impact on local economies. In this
regard, the positive example of the partnership between Strasbourg
City authorities and the University of Strasbourg in providing refugees
and asylum seekers with an opportunity to learn the French language
and receive life-long professional training free of charge is an excellent
69 The host population should also be prepared to accept migrants
from different cultural backgrounds. It requires well-devised policies
at local level which promote knowledge of different cultures, traditions
and religious practices. Such policies would prevent possible conflicts
and would eradicate the negative image of migrants.
the democratic participation of migrants
70 Participation in elections
and in the work of political or civil organisations provides better
opportunities for migrants to express their views to the authorities
and community in general.
71 However, the democratic participation of migrants is limited
by a number of barriers: financial resources, language skills, access
to networking and citizenship restrictions. The eradication of these
barriers should be facilitated by the host countries in order to
ensure the strong functioning of democracy in Europe.
Regular migrants should be able to exercise their political
rights to vote and to be elected irrespective of their current residential
status. At the time of writing, not all European countries give
this right to their citizens without certain restrictions. In the
host countries, as provided for in the Council of Europe Convention
on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local level
(ETS No. 144), migrants should be accorded a right to vote in local
elections after five years of residence in a given country. As I
wrote in my previous report,Note
voting rights to migrants in the host country can also, to a certain
extent, protect against negative stereotypes to which they may be
subjected in political campaigns.
Access to citizenship is an important tool for migrants’ more
active involvement in the host society. The right to naturalisation
after five years of regular residence in the country, which is already
a case in several European countries, has a very positive impact
on the long-lasting political involvement of migrants. A study recently
conducted in Switzerland proved that migrants who received a Swiss
passport as a result of local referendums developed a high level
of political knowledge and involvement.Note
Therefore, lowering the strict residency
requirements could beneficially influence the positive results of
the naturalisation of migrants.
74 Migrants should also be encouraged to be more actively involved
in the activities of political parties, trade unions and migrant
and diaspora associations. Through their civil participation in
the work of such associations, migrants can acquire necessary networking
skills, political knowledge and can be better involved in the society of
local communities. Political parties, trade unions and civic organisations
should develop special programmes encouraging migrants’ involvement.
75 A good example of such a civil society initiative involving
migrants is the “One day without us” action which was organised
in the United Kingdom on 20 February 2017 to celebrate the contribution
of migrants in the country. It was a nationwide event which took
different forms of expression including marches, social media forums,
stalls, picnics, art performances, workshops and other cultural
events in different universities and other locations.,
76 Migrant’s involvement in consultative bodies at national and
local level is another important form of community participation.
Migrants should be actively included in migration policy debates
and should be consulted on all policy changes which are related
to their interests. Much political analysis has come to the conclusion
that the absence of migrants’ point of view in political and social
debates has led to a distorted image of migrants amongst the population.
Many European countries which are Parties to the above-mentioned Council
of Europe Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public
Life at Local Level have implemented its provisions on the creation
of consultative councils. In Luxembourg for example, migrants have
the possibility to express their positions on different policies
and legal drafts by being represented in the National Council for Foreigners.
In Italy, there are two different systems of political representation
of foreigners at local level: the Consultative Body of Foreigners
and the Associated Counsellor (Consigliere Aggiunto). The former
is an elected body, representing foreign residents with a consultative
status. Associated Counsellors are also directly elected by foreign
residents and participate on a regular basis in municipal council
assemblies. It is important that member States provide the necessary
funding for the creation and effective functioning of such consultative
77 I should particularly stress the role of local authorities
in the democratic involvement of migrants. As the everyday lives
of migrants are taking place at community level, the local communities
should be responsive to migrants’ initiatives and could even encourage
their participation by developing migrant-oriented programmes.
78 This report has argued that
an effective migration process is beneficial not only for migrants
and their families, but for all of European society. In addition,
through diaspora links, it can also have a tremendous impact on
the development of the migrants’ countries of origin.
79 The first thing to be done in our countries is to counter
the negative rhetoric against migration and demonstrate to the public
the economic evidence of its potential benefit to our societies.
All public and private actors should be involved in the process
of formulation of a new evidence-based migration policy for Europe, centred
on the real economic benefits and prospects for development.
80 To increase the benefits of migration to Europe, it is necessary
to eliminate a number of legal and bureaucratic barriers and the
practice of hidden and open discrimination against migrants, which
significantly hinder their integration into the host society.
81 The economic growth of Europe will depend upon its capacity
to better utilise people’s skills and talents and promote innovative
technologies and businesses. Therefore, a key priority should be
the elimination of all barriers to migrants’ access to the labour
market and provision of opportunities for the development of their skills
82 To make the most of this process, it is important to create
an appropriate international and national legal basis and relevant
migration management mechanisms, which can ensure the maximum profit
for all actors.
83 European countries should gather, analyse and monitor information
on their labour force needs with the aim of developing forward-thinking
migration strategies and responding to their economic needs in different sectors
of the economy.
84 To gain advantage in the global competition for the most highly-skilled
specialists, European countries should increase labour market transparency.
They should also improve admission conditions for the best students
and researchers from non-European countries and provide them with
attractive employment opportunities. Targeted national regularisation
programmes for irregular migrants should be promoted, as has been
done by some countries such as France.
85 It is also important to develop European qualification and
competence standards, which would facilitate the recognition of
migrants’ qualifications and assessment of their skills.
86 Effective co-operation should be developed between governments
and business communities on the developing and funding of necessary
vocational training for migrants, and the elaboration of strategies
on how to encourage the migrant labour force to become involved
in less attractive sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.
87 The creation of a European system which would facilitate social
security protection for all working migrants and their families
would be one of the main conditions for the social inclusion of
migrants and the prosperity of host countries. This system should
protect the fundamental social and economic rights guaranteed in
the European Social Charter treaty system and be based on the standards
set in the European Code of Social Security (ETS No. 48) and its
Protocol (ETS No. 48A). The host societies should also ensure that
migrants are not discriminated against in the labour market, have
the same level of access to employment as native workers, and enjoy
equal social, cultural and democratic rights.
88 Local communities should be supported in their initiatives
toward the social inclusion of migrants. Local authorities, NGOs
and migrant organisations should receive adequate funding for their
activities aimed at the better involvement of refugees in social
89 Local banks should support the efforts of migrants to help
their countries of origin, by lowering the costs of transfer of
remittances and developing micro-credits for investment projects
of migrants in their countries of origin.
90 The host country governments should sign agreements with the
countries of origin of migrants regarding transfer of social and
91 The governments of the Council of Europe member States should
encourage migrants’ active participation in social and political
life. Migrants who are contributing to the economic development
of the host countries should also be able to present their opinions
and concerns regarding the main issues of political development
of these countries.
92 At European level, consideration could be given to the creation
of a European migration and intercultural development observatory
to assist the member States of the Council of Europe in dealing
with current migration challenges, including the development of
strategies, legal frameworks and action plans, as well as the implementation
of specific projects. This could serve as a laboratory for developing
legislative frameworks regulating migration-related issues; for
supporting projects promoting intercultural development; and promoting dialogue
between researchers, policy makers, and civil society activists
working on migration problems. As the Council of Europe has already
developed an impressive set of standards concerning the human rights
of migrants – and for the moment does not have any specific intergovernmental
committee dealing with migration issues – it would be very important
to promote such an observatory, where these standards could be shared, developed
and implemented. It could deal with both policy development and
research, and co-operation and assistance activities. It could also
act as a Council of Europe agency on migration, bringing together
all member States, and could be opened for participation to other
countries interested in this co-operation.
93 At institutional level, co-operation should be reinforced
between the Council of Europe, the OECD and the European Union,
aimed at promoting a positive image of migrants, particularly as
far as economic development is concerned.