Addressing Labour Loss in Eastern Europe
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Several Eastern European countries are seeing a significant loss of their labour force as large numbers migrate in search of work. The subject was discussed at a recent meeting of Euronest in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi.
Ukraine has lost seven per cent of its labour force to labour migration since 2015, primarily to Poland but also to other Eastern EU countries. Though less dramatic, other countries within the region have also witnessed significant growth of labour mobility, with Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Bulgaria all opening their labour markets and actively seeking foreign workers from Eastern Neighbourhood countries to fill labour market gaps
Michael Newson from IOM’s Regional Office in Vienna briefed Euronest’s committee on Social Affairs, Employment, Education, Culture and Civil Society on the need to address undeclared or informal work among migrants within a broader migration management strategy.
“We need to emphasize labour migration programmes that are responsive to employer and labour market needs”, he noted. We also need to consider the situation migrants find themselves in, why they are drawn towards the informal sector and how they can be integrated into the formal labour market. Finally, we need to develop cooperation mechanisms at the regional level in countries of origin and destination to effectively manage this growing phenomenon”.
Euronest is an inter-parliamentary forum in which members of the European Parliament and the national parliaments of Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia participate and forge closer political and economic ties with the European Union