Academic journal article Migration Letters

New Forms of Intra-European Migration, Labour Market Dynamics and Social Inequality in Europe

Academic journal article Migration Letters

New Forms of Intra-European Migration, Labour Market Dynamics and Social Inequality in Europe

Article excerpt

Abstract

This article deals with new forms of Intra-European migration, processes of integration and inequality, and dynamics of emerging transnational labour markets in Europe. We discuss these issues against the background of fundamental changes which have been taking place on the European continent over the past two decades. Drawing on available comparative European data, we examine, in a first step, whether the changes in intra-European migration patterns have been accompanied by a differentiation of the causes of migration. In a second step, we discuss the extent to which new forms of transnational labour markets have been emerging within Europe and their effects on systems of social stratification.

Keywords: Intra-European migration; social inequality; non-EU migrants; Transnational labour markets

Introduction

This contribution deals with changes in European migration patterns, with a focus on labour market processes and processes of integration and inequality. Drawing on comparative European data, it examines whether conditions of social integration have changed in response to àjferentiation in the form of intraEuropean migration and to indications of the emergence of transnational labour markets in Europe and, if so, how.

We address this question in the context of fundamental changes which have been taking place on the European continent over the past two decades. Several years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, a process of European reintegration began, which led to the enlargement of the European Union and, thus, to the integration of post-socialist countries such as Hungary, Poland and Slovakia into the EU.1 At the same time, the EU became more strongly integrated internally, such as through the creation of the European Monetary Union and the implementation of the Maastricht Treaty. However, European integration and enlargement went hand in hand with a reinforcement of entry barriers (e.g. in the form of the Common European Asylum System). These structural changes have resulted in a widening rift between EU and non-EU countries. Taken together, these institutional dynamics have significantly transformed the conditions for migration both within Europe and from nonEuropean states to Europe. This new situation calls for systematic research, on which we report in this contribution.

We begin with an introduction, which is followed by three substantive sections. The first step is to provide a brief overview of the recent history of migration in Europe. Using the analytical tools and approaches of migration research, which have themselves become more differentiated conceptually since the early 1990s, we sketch out the empirical differentiation of migration patterns of recent decades. To illustrate this, we then discuss the most current data on Europeans' migration intentions and reasons for migrating. The third step is to explore the extent to which new forms of transnational labour markets have been emerging within Europe. We conclude by summarising our most important findings and reflecting on their theoretical implications.

Migration history in Europe

Historically, immigration is a relatively recent phenomenon in Europe (for an excellent overview of European migration history, see Bade et al., 2011). Europe was an important source of emigrants to North America and Australia well into the 1950s. The mid- and late 1950s saw an increase in the number of immigrants, which was due to labour migration and post-colonial migration. During the same period, intra-European labour migration began, with migrants moving from Southern Europe and North African Mediterranean countries to the industrial centres of France, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. These migrations were stimulated by the economic boom of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, when the demand for labour grew rapidly in Western Europe. Most industrial economies imported labour during this period, especially for lower-skilled jobs. …

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