chapter  7
39 Pages

Migration, labour markets, and integration of migrants: an overview for Europe with a comparison to the US


Between 1750 and 1976 Europe was the prime source region of world migration sending some 70 million people – the equivalent of one-third of its population growth – overseas. During the last 50 years, however, all countries of Western Europe2 gradually became destinations for international migrants (Table 7.1). Several of the new EU member states in Central Europe and the Mediterranean also follow that pattern (Table 7.2).3 It is likely that, sooner or later, this will be the case in other new EU member states and accession countries4 as well. Many Europeans, however, still do not see their homelands as immigration countries – in particular not as destinations for permanent immigrants. This counter-factual perception of demographic realities has become an obstacle to the development and implementation of proactive migration regimes and comprehensive integration programmes. As a consequence it might be more difficult for the EU and its member states to attract the mix and kind of migrants this world region will need to recruit in the future for demographic and economic reasons.