Temporary and circular migration: opportunities and challenges
In spite of high levels of unemployment across Europe in the aftermath of the recent economic downturn, labour market shortages persist in a number of sectors. These shortages are likely to become more acute as demographic challenges become more pressing and Europe’s workforce shrinks. With fewer and fewer people of working age supporting a growing number of elderly people, the continent’s economic and social models will come under threat. Policy-makers must therefore make choices to ensure the future well-being of EU citizens.
The EPC’s Task Force on Temporary and Circular Migration investigated whether temporary and circular migration policies are part of the solution to sustaining Europe’s economic and social models as its societies age. These policies would essentially permit the entry of third-country nationals for work purposes for a limited period only, and could allow some degree of back-and-forth movement (circularity) between Europe and the migrants’ countries of origin. Importantly, from a demographic perspective, most migrants entering via temporary and circular migration channels would return home following their stay, thus not eventually becoming part of Europe’s ageing societies themselves.