European Migration and Diversity

Labour Migration Governance Task Force


A success story for the EU and seasonal workers' rights without reinventing the wheel

28 March 2014
Alex Lazarowicz (External authors)


Despite the economic crisis with resulting high unemployment, EU economies face vacancies across the skill spectrum. At the low end there is a structural need when it comes to seasonal work. The Seasonal Workers Directive was launched at the same time as the Inter-Corporate Transferees (ICTs) Directive in 2010 – as part of the Commission’s 2005 Policy Plan on Legal Migration – and initially appeared to be more troublesome, with the stigma of ‘migrants stealing local jobs’ haunting it. However, without the provisions for intra-EU mobility that have plagued the ICTs Directive, the Seasonal Workers Directive became less problematic despite the fact that seasonal workers are more numerous than intra-corporate transferees. This Policy Brief looks at how negotiating parties ensured a focus not only on the needs of the European labour market, but also saw an opportunity to bring added value to seasonal workers’ rights, through equal treatment to EU nationals. It assesses the final outcome of three and a half years of intra-EU negotiation, looking at the rights gained for seasonal migrants, the level of harmonization achieved, and the future of migration policy with the strategic guidelines for the area of freedom, security and justice in mind.

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