Annual Report on labour mobility within the EU
Stabilisation after the pandemic
SW – 04/2023
The European Commission's Directorate-General for
Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion published its annual report on intra-EU labour mobility 2022 published in early April. The report identified trends in the free
movement of workers and it was based on the 2020/2021 data that is currently
available. This issue also focused on insights into cross-border mobility, such
as living and working in different member states as well as the mobility of
various occupational groups.
EU migration is stable
Notwithstanding the pandemic, the number of
EU citizens of working age who live and work in a member state other than their
country of origin remained stable in 2021 at around 10.2 million. It is
expected that the restrictive trend associated with the COVID-19 pandemic will
reverse when the pandemic ends.
More than 30 per cent of EU immigrants
between the ages of 20 and 64 live in Germany, which was also the main
recipient country in 2021, closely followed by Spain and Italy. Luxembourg has
the highest number of EU migrants as a proportion of its own population. Gender
distribution is almost equal.
The level of education has increased
according to the report: Whereas 28 per cent of the population had a university
degree in 2016, 32 per cent held corresponding higher education by 2021.
Approximately 1.7 million workers were
engaged in cross-border activities throughout the EU and EFTA states in 2021. Germany is also one of the main
destinations for this group of people and when combined with Switzerland and
Luxembourg, 60 per cent of the cross-border workforce moved to these countries.
The profiles of these workers varies as they
depend on the economic structures of the regions adjacent to the borders: These
people are from the construction and industrial sectors as well as auxiliary
workers and personal services. Men are overrepresented as their share is around
70 per cent. The main countries they come from are Italy, Poland and Romania.
Challenges for social security
European workers have the right to work and
live in another member state in accordance with the principle of free movement
within the EU and EFTA. Resulting entitlements to social benefits are
coordinated between the member states and their social security systems.
This continues to pose major challenges for
the social security systems. Digitisation in particular is one of the main
priorities for the member states: In addition to introducing the European
Exchange of Social Security Information (EESSI)
system, a Commission pilot project based on the feasibility of introducing a
European Social Security Pass (ESSPASS)
has been running since March 2021.