From Past to Present: Re-Emerging Migration Patterns in Europe

Thursday, 2 July 2015: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
TW2.1.01 (Tower Two)
Mehtap Akguc, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels, Belgium
Miroslav Beblavy, Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), Brussels, Belgium
In this paper, we focus on re-emerged intra-European migration flows from Southern and Eastern Europe to the European countries less strongly affected by the recent economic downturn. While doing this, we also compare these flows to the past flows of South-North and East-West migration patterns and include the figures of migrants from non-EU countries to have a broader picture of the changing migrant reservoir in Europe over time. The analysis of migrant selectivity in the past and today generates useful insights into understanding the potential of integration of the youth migrants and the role of labor market structures in sending and receiving countries, including labor market mismatches and migration policies. To this aim, our paper utilizes various types – aggregate and individual level – of data from different sources in order to identify the key trends and analyze the direction, size, and structure of intra-European migration. 

Using data from a recent source providing migration data broken down by country of origin, gender, and skill groups over 1980-2010, our aggregate analysis highlights several important observations: non-EU migration is massive, yet intra-EU migration (from Southern and Eastern Europe) is non-negligible and stocks of migrants generally increase over time across almost all destinations considered. Emigration rates are substantially influenced by EU-accession of Eastern European countries. Regarding gender-specific emigration rates, male emigration is generally higher than that of female until 2000s, but the latter catches up afterwards, which is in line with the recent phenomenon of feminization of migration. Last but not least, there are interesting trends in skills (e.g. a shift from low-skilled to medium- and high-skilled) and geographical origins, which points to a changing and dynamic migrant labor reservoir in Europe over time.

In the individual-level econometric analysis, looking at various migrant populations in the destination countries analyzed, our results highlight that migrants from Eastern and Southern Europe display important differences vis-à-vis natives in certain labor outcomes (if not all), such as employment, unemployment, and over-qualification at occupation held, even after taking into account differences in demographic and socio-economic characteristics. For example, migrants from all origins (except Southern Europe) have higher chances of being unemployed and adding individual controls does not modify the results much. We also find that Eastern European and non-EU migrants are more likely to be over-qualified than natives. Finally, we run additional models interacting age groups with origins to explore further heterogeneities. The results suggest that young Southern European migrants are more likely to be self-employed than older natives and that young migrants from both Eastern and Southern Europe are particularly less likely to be correctly matched in the occupations held given their educational attainment. One interpretation of such results could be that there might be other heterogeneities not accounted for here that might explain the differences. Another explanation could be differential labor market treatment (in the form of discrimination) that these migrant groups receive in the host countries they reside.