The EU's Global Approach to Migration and Mobility - European Union Committee Contents

Chapter 9: summary of conclusions and recommendations

Addressing skills shortages

189.  In the context of the EU's demographic challenges and future labour market needs, we consider that flexibility by Member States in the operation of the European labour market to legal migration from third countries, particularly in those with skills shortages, could be essential in order to secure economic growth and competitiveness. However, such an approach is not a panacea, and should form part of a comprehensive approach which also tackles the development of skills among the existing workforce, as well as any necessary labour market reforms. (paragraph 46)

Anticipating labour and skills shortages

190.  Member States should continue to have the right to choose the number of migrants from third countries they wish to admit to their labour markets, depending on their needs. Therefore, we consider that any transfer of responsibility to the EU in the management of legal migration would be undesirable and also impossible to agree and achieve. (paragraph 55)

191.  We also doubt whether it is possible for the EU accurately to predict labour demand or skills shortages into the future. (paragraph 56)

Social security coordination

192.  We note the Government's concerns about the Commission's approach to the external dimension of EU social security coordination. However, notwithstanding these concerns, we consider that the EU may need to consider the portability of social rights. (paragraph 60)

Family reunification

193.  We believe that there could be problems with a situation that admits spouses and children more readily to one Member State than another, considering that, once admitted they may eventually acquire the right to freedom of movement throughout the EU. We repeat our view that the Government should seek to opt-in to the Family Reunification Directive. (paragraph 64)

Labour market integration and public opposition to migration

194.  We consider that the EU's contribution to labour market integration policy should primarily be through the European Integration Fund. We support the recommendations of the European Agenda for the Integration of Third-Country Nationals, and encourage the Commission to develop these recommendations into concrete proposals, particularly those dealing with countries of origin in the context of the GAMM. (paragraph 70)

195.  We also support the Commission's efforts to promote the sharing of Member State experiences and good practice in the wider area of integration policies. We believe that language learning has an important role to play in this respect. We would also stress the valuable role that the voluntary and private sector can play in this process, and recommend that the views of civil society be taken fully into account in the formulation and implementation of integration policy. (paragraph 71)

External border controls and tackling irregular migration

196.  We strongly support the Government's efforts to play an active role in the work of Frontex and the development of EUROSUR and believe that it is in the United Kingdom's national interest that these operations are efficient, effective and well resourced. (paragraph 81)

197.  However, we believe that while external border controls are a crucial part of any strategy to deal with irregular migration, they have limited effects on reducing irregularity, not least since most irregular migrants in Europe are visa over-stayers. We recommend that both Member States and the EU consider a more balanced and comprehensive approach to over-stayers, including the selective encouragement of legal migration channels. We also support the Commission's forthcoming proposal for an entry-exit system. (paragraph 82)

EU Readmission Agreements

198.  We have constantly advocated the United Kingdom's participation in all EU Readmission Agreements. We believe that they can be important tools in facilitating returns to third countries particularly if bilateral relations were to weaken between the United Kingdom and particular third countries. We were disappointed that the Government chose not to participate in the negotiating mandates with Belarus and Armenia and would like to see the United Kingdom opt-in at a later stage. We support the Government's decision to opt-in to the agreement with Turkey. (paragraph 88)

199.  We believe that the existing Readmission Agreements would benefit from a full evaluation and urge the Government to support such an approach by the Commission. (paragraph 89)

Human Trafficking Directive

200.  We support the commitment to embed anti-trafficking measures in wider external migration relations as well as the recognition of the need for a more coordinated and strategic approach. We look forward to seeing evidence of these commitments being put into practice in the 2014 evaluation report of the Anti-trafficking Strategy. (paragraph 92)

201.  We restate our support for the United Kingdom's participation in the Human Trafficking Directive and welcome the Government's joined-up approach to this area. (paragraph 94)

European Asylum Support Office

202.  We welcome the establishment of the European Asylum Support Office and look forward to monitoring its progress. (paragraph 98)

Regional Protection Programmes

203.  We acknowledge the potential of Regional Protection Programmes to facilitate the GAMM's work in building capacity in countries of origin and transit. We particularly welcome the recent establishment of a Regional Protection Programme for Syria. We encourage the Government to play a proactive role in their operation and development. (paragraph 106)

Joint EU Resettlement Programme

204.  We recommend that the EU should aim to accept more resettlement refugees under the Regional Protection Programmes as part of their ongoing dialogue and cooperation with the UNHCR. (paragraph 110)

205.  We commend the Government's ongoing commitment to resettlement through its Gateway Protection Programme and endorse its support for the establishment of the joint EU resettlement programme. (paragraph 111)

A more integrated approach?

206.  Migration policy cannot and should not be the sole concern of interior ministries. We support the approach advocated by a number of our witnesses for a more integrated approach to be adopted, which should involve other ministries such as Business, Innovation and Skills, Development and Foreign Affairs. (paragraph 117)

207.  We also consider that the Commission should adopt a similar approach when seeking to achieve the objectives of the Global Approach by engaging all the relevant parts of the Commission, including the Directorate-Generals for Home Affairs, Development and Employment and Social Affairs, and the European External Action Service. (paragraph 118)


208.  We consider that the EU's development aims in the migration context could be assisted by taking steps to reduce trade barriers with non-EU countries. (paragraph 120)

Brain Drain, Remittances and Diasporas

209.  We believe there is a general EU interest in pursuing proactive policies regarding brain drain, remittances and diasporas. However, in order for the EU to make a positive contribution to facilitating remittances, mitigating the effects of brain drain on countries of origin and assisting diasporas to transfer skills to their countries of origin, its work in this area needs to supplement dialogue with concrete actions. This could include support for making remittances more affordable, schemes to increase access to finance in remote locations and providing funding for the development of vocational skills. (paragraph 126)

Mixed competences and effective implementation

210.  We agree that the GAMM is a useful framework for the EU to approach the external dimension of migration. We also welcome the extension of its scope to cover mobility. (paragraph 133)

211.  However, we believe that the current approach in the GAMM is too diffuse and that in reforming it the EU should adopt a more focused approach, concentrating on the EU's geographical and strategic priorities, as well as focusing on a smaller number of key objectives and instruments, which have a sound evidence base. (paragraph 134)

212.  We believe that Turkey should become one of the GAMM's main geographical priorities, in tackling irregular migration, alongside more general engagement in tackling terrorism, transnational organised crime and promoting judicial cooperation in civil and criminal matters. (paragraph 135)

213.  The EU does have a significant role to play in migration policy, but if the GAMM is to be effective it must accommodate rather than disregard Member States' different approaches in this area. We believe that facilitating voluntary cooperation between Member States with an interest in particular projects will yield the most results. (paragraph 136)

Funding, evaluation and monitoring

214.  We consider that despite its stated intention the current iteration of the GAMM has not evaluated effectively the EU's progress to date in achieving its objectives. Therefore, we believe that a full and detailed evaluation of the GAMM's different pillars and the funding instruments that support their objectives should form a core part of the forthcoming report in 2013, in order to ensure the GAMM's future relevance and efficacy. (paragraph 139)

Mobility Partnerships

215.  We note that none of the existing Mobility Partnerships are with major sending countries. We recommend that Turkey (as a candidate country) and Pakistan, as major corridors for irregular migration into the EU, should be priorities for future Mobility Partnerships. (paragraph 144)

216.  However, it is important to be realistic about what can be achieved between the EU and third countries regarding migration and mobility. To this end we support the development of looser, more informal, forms of cooperation with other important third countries before moving on to more formal agreements such as Mobility Partnerships. (paragraph 145)

217.  We urge the Government to press the Commission to accept the need for a thorough evaluation of the existing Mobility Partnerships. We welcome the recent evaluation of the Moldovan Mobility Partnership as a positive step in this regard but consider that considerable progress is still required in this area. Due to their bespoke nature there cannot be a "one-size-fits-all" approach to Mobility Partnerships and separate evaluations of each are therefore required. (paragraph 148)

218.  Looking ahead we also believe that any future Mobility Partnerships should contain clear provision for integrated monitoring or evaluation mechanisms to assess quantitative benchmarks, including the views of the target beneficiaries. These mechanisms should play a prominent role from the very beginning of the process. (paragraph 149)

The Global Forum for Migration and Development

219.  We believe that the Commission should be welcomed to future meetings of the GFMD as an observer so long as it is clearly recognised within the EU that this will not indicate any transfer of responsibilities from the Member States. (paragraph 154)

Other international organisations with a role in migration

220.  Increased coordination and reduced duplication between the various international organisations involved in migration policy is necessary. (paragraph 158)

221.  We also consider that co-operation and the sharing of expertise between cities and regions in different parts of the EU could be every bit as important as inter-governmental and international co-operation on migration. (paragraph 159)

The United Kingdom's partial participation in EU asylum and immigration policies

222.  We consider that the United Kingdom's approach to migration policy cannot and should not be formulated and implemented in a vacuum. Migration is a global phenomenon so the United Kingdom's policy needs to take proper account of the European and international policy frameworks in order to achieve a more effective approach. (paragraph 165)

EU immigration measures

223.  We consider that migration has provided benefits for the EU and can continue to do so while Member States' primary competence in this area is respected. We continue to believe that the United Kingdom should seek to play a full role in the development and implementation of the EU's migration policy. (paragraph 167)

224.  We see advantage in the United Kingdom's participation in individual EU migration measures brought forward by the Commission where these are broadly consistent with Government policy. While a policy of non-participation may leave the United Kingdom free to frame its own labour migration policy, we believe that this may also place the United Kingdom at a competitive disadvantage in terms of attracting highly-skilled migrants. (paragraph 168)

EU asylum measures

225.  We have also consistently advocated the United Kingdom's participation in the majority of individual EU asylum measures. We continue to believe that the United Kingdom should seek to play a full role in the development and implementation of the EU's asylum policy, including the completion of the Common European Asylum System. (paragraph 170)

226.  We welcome the Government's admission that non-participation in proposed recast asylum measures does not release them from their obligations under the first phase of Common European Asylum System (CEAS) measures, in which they currently participate. This has been our view since the second phase CEAS proposals were brought forward by the Commission. (paragraph 171)

The Schengen Area

227.  While not being a full member of the Schengen Area, we believe that the United Kingdom should seek to engage with the border-free travel area wherever possible. This can be achieved through continued participation in policing and criminal justice Schengen-building measures, as well as through exploring options for enhanced cooperation between the Common Travel Area and the Schengen Area. We regret the Government's negative attitude to such cooperation and hope they will reconsider. (paragraph 176)

Free movement of persons

228.  The free movement of persons is fundamental to the structure of the EU and an integral part of the Single Market. We believe it would be neither desirable nor feasible to seek to revise its terms. However, we support any efforts by the Government to tackle benefit fraud as long as it complies with their obligations under the Treaties. (paragraph 180)

International students and net migration targets

229.  We welcome the Government's commitment to the sustainable growth of the higher education sector. While we also welcome their intention to disaggregate the statistics on student migration within headline migration figures as a small step in the right direction this does not address the heart of the problem, which is not purely statistical in nature. (paragraph 186)

230.  We consider that the current policy creates the perception that overseas students are not welcome in the United Kingdom. We therefore believe that it harms both the quality of the United Kingdom's higher education sector and its ability to compete in an increasingly competitive global market for international students, particularly with other English-speaking countries and some EU Member States, thus reducing much needed income from tuition fees for our universities and damaging the United Kingdom's international influence in the longer term. (paragraph 187)

231.  We recommend the removal of international students from the public policy implications of the Government's policy of reducing net migration. If the Government genuinely favour an increase in bona fide students from outside the EU they should make this clearer and ensure that all policy instruments support this objective. (paragraph 188)


232.  We make this report to the House for debate. (paragraph 11)

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