International migration between the states of the European Union has never been easier, yet there has been no substantial increase in long-term skill exchanges over recent years. The provisions made under Article 52 of the Treaty of Rome (which took effect in 1968) meant that citizens of any member country had the right to seek and take up work and residence in another member state. This position was strengthened by the 1985 Schengen agreement which aimed at the removal of border controls between the signatories (nine EU states had signed by 1993). Despite these measures, and the increased internationalization of West European economies, it would appear that international migration between EU states actually declined during the 1980s. Strong forces continue to limit the scale of permanent skill exchange. This chapter examines the specificity of the West European context in searching both to account for this paradoxical situation, and to consider whether western Europe will continue to diverge from other major advanced trading areas in its migration experience.