Policy Brief


During the Covid-19 pandemic, the question of migration across the EU has been somehow downplayed. Member states were forced to reframe their narrative around migrants as ‘essential workers’ rather than a potential security threat. Yet, the issue is far from being normalised for the majority of European citizens. In fact, after the pandemic, the narrative has returned to being ‘toxic’, while the war in Ukraine has brought to the surface some double standards when it comes to accepting migrants, asylum seekers, as well as irregular migrants entering EU countries without a visa.

There is a need to debunk anti-immigration ‘myths’ across the EU to understand whether and how migration could represent an opportunity for sustainable social and economic development. Against this backdrop, FEPS, in cooperation with the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Italy, the Centre for European Policy Network – Rome, the Fondation Jean-Jaurès and the Università per gli Stranieri di Perugia aimed to assess the phenomenon from both a political and an economic angle, using four countries as case studies: France, Germany, Italy and Poland.

Migration by number
By Smaïn Laacher

This policy brief examines, in practical terms and using official data, the entirety of current qualitative and quantitative data on migration in France. The figures and statistics on which it relies are from official institutions, such as the National Institute for Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE), the National Institute for Demographic Studies, Department of Research Animation, Studies and Statistics (DARES) and the French Office of Immigration and Integration (OFII). In addition to these, numbered developments relying on other non-official sources (articles or longer works) are cited systematically. The brief begins with a numerical assessment of immigrants (both regular and irregular) in France that examines, in particular, their placement in administrative detention centres (CRAs). It then summarises the methods of judicial integration of immigrants in France: asylum, naturalisation, visas, etc. Next, the brief lays out the terms of social protection for migrants, both regular and irregular. Following this, it outlines the place of immigrants in the job market. Finally, it considers the question of whether immigration is an ‘economic burden’ or a resource for French society

The political economy of migration policies in Germany
By Victoria Rietig 

Germany’s migration policies are an outlier in Europe. In contrast to many of its neighbours, the country has been trying to open itself up for more migration in recent years, especially to labour migrants to help fuel the country’s economy. This policy brief gives an overview of data about regular and irregular migration to Germany and breaks down the so-called paradigm shift on migration that has been driving migration policies since 2021. It highlights inefficient administrative processes and recommends the government address uncomfortable realities and move from creating new laws to creating better conditions to implement them.

The political economy of migration policies in Italy
By Andrea De Petris

Access to work for non-EU nationals in Italy has been and remains a complex issue. This puts them in a seriously precarious position, socially, economically, educationally and in terms of health. Neither the regulations currently in force nor the new regulations being drawn up by the new government seem to be able to resolve this problem. And yet, the Italian employment system requires a large amount of labour, which is already partly covered by foreign workers who too often work in irregular and therefore precarious conditions. The purpose of this note is to describe the current regulations regarding access to employment for non-EU foreign nationals, indicate the problems with them and suggest possible improvements.

Migration in Poland
By Sara Bojarczuk 

Poland’s migration scene has undergone a significant transition. Within a few years, it has gone from a country of high emigration to a country of immigration, predominantly from Eastern Europe. In particular, Poland has recently become a crucial player in hosting the sudden influx of refugees from Ukraine, although the overall migration trend in the country has origins in various areas. Nonetheless, there is still a lack of comprehensive data to quantify immigration and regional distribution. Most importantly there is no clear information about migrants’ needs, and no plans for labour policies or social welfare schemes have been put forward by the national government to allow the immigrants to better integrate into Polish society. The solutions offered by current and previous Polish governments have often been ad hoc and only address immediate crises. Nonetheless, considering current circumstances and in particular Poland’s ageing population, migration could provide a solution to the problem that the Polish government has been struggling to adequately address.

Centres for European Policy Network
Fondation Jean-Jaurès
Università per Stranieri di Perugia
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