Making Migration Work - Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het ...

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Making Migration Work - Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het ...

how to make migration work21Politics naturally also plays a role by establishing the regulatory frameworksthat constrain employers’ choices (Ruhs and Anderson, present publication). Ina Europe without internal borders, labour migration is no longer regulated byapplying the traditional migration mechanisms but by the demand (employer)and supply (workers) sides of the labour market. What lies between the two arenational and other labour market institutions, for example the minimum wage,collective agreements, employment contracts and social insurance schemes.These sorts of institutions, legislation, rules and agreements have become moreimportant to the regulation of European labour migration than traditionalmigration mechanisms, which usually focus on admission and border controls.That means that politic should concentrate on a different set of mechanisms, inmost cases the labour market.Sweden offers a good example. After the eu’s enlargement in 2004, it welcomedfar fewer labour migrants from Central and Eastern Europe than theUnited Kingdom, although neither country – unlike most of the other euMember States – introduced transitional measures (Galgóczi and Lescke, presentpublication). However, the uk’s minimal regulatory framework for wagesand employment conditions made it advantageous for employers to recruitlarge numbers of eu workers. That cost advantage was largely absent in theSwedish labour market, most of which is covered by various collective agreements.Comparing the two countries clearly shows that in a Europe with openborders, institutional characteristics of national labour markets play a crucialrole in determining the nature and scale of labour migration (Lemaître, presentpublication).But politics can also influence employers’ options in many other ways. Besidesinfluencing the shape of the labour market itself, policymakers can emphasisecertain scarce disciplines or skills in the education system, raise the retirementage, increase the labour force participation rates among less active groups(including migrants who already live in the Netherlands), promote a more dynamiclabour market, encourage training on the job, and so on (Papademetriou,present publication).These strategies entail complex trade-offs, however, as each one involves a widerange of economic and social costs and benefits, both in the shorter and – in particular– the longer term. Tackling the labour shortages in the health care sector,for example, will require a major financial investment in education, somethingthat France has already undertaken (oecd 2010). In the Netherlands, it is oftenclaimed that labour shortages in the health care system can be resolved by havingall part-time employees work full time from now on. But that also comes ata ‘price’, for example more employees calling in sick due to the strain of theirjobs, or an extra investment in child care. On top of this, alternatives are not

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