European Migration and Diversity

Immigration, Integration and Asylum Forum


Does crisis Europe need more skilled migrants? The debate on intra-corporate transferees

11 January 2011


Maria Åsenius, Head of Cabinet of Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner for Home Affairs, said this wasn’t just a discussion about Inter Corporate Transferees (ICTs), but about the wider question of whether Europe needs more skilled migrants. There are serious deficits of workers in some sectors, and the workforce will start to decrease from 2013, meaning that those who work must be ultra productive if European nations are to sustain the current welfare states.

The ICT proposal promotes:

  • the establishment of transparent and simplified procedures for admissions;
  • a harmonised legal status with clear definitions;
  • a combined title for residency and work permit;
  • a fast track procedure that shouldn’t take more than 30 days to obtain a permit;
  • regulations for the movement of ICTs within the EU;
  • provisions for their families.

It is in Europe’s interest that companies operating in Europe have access to the right people with the right skills. ICTs can play a vital role in revitalising the European economy.

Ameet Nivsarkar, Vice President, NASSCOM, said that a globally mobile workforce must be able to seamlessly move within Europe. A common system across Europe for ICTs will not only improve efficiency and competitiveness, but also global companies will bring knowledge obtained from clients all over the world into the European sphere. A flexible and more mobile professional workforce will assist Europe to come out of crisis.

John Monks, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation, said that any discussion about migration which ignores the current political realities of economic crisis and very high unemployment is in a “political cuckoo land”. The ETUC and European trade unions are not protectionist, but a major concern with the proposals are is that they are not careful enough, and the possibilities for abuse are considerable.

The issue is equal treatment for migrants, with the same conditions, rights and benefits as employees in the host country. Once any group of migrants is seen as undermining the conditions, the potential conditions are produced for racism, anti-migrant feelings, and community tensions.

Jan Mulder, Member of the European Parliament said the first impression is positive—there is a need for harmonisation in the the EU, it is not possible to have a common market with 27 different systems.There are problems, however, with the recent return to old traditions of migration in countries like Ireland, Portugal and Spain, where young people in particular are migrating to other continents because they cannot find jobs in Europe.

Karl Cox, Vice President, Public Policy and Corporate Affairs EMEA, Oracle said the Commission have taken a valid approach by focusing on ICTs. It is impractical to have their knowledge of products and client dispersed across the world.

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