New changes from May 1st this year have been met with mixed feelings from the different member states of the European Union. These changes seeGermany andAustria open up their doors and remove any barriers to workers from other member states coming into their countries.
The rest of the European Union has operated like this for a long time where free movement of labour and workers exists. This has led to a huge amount of migration by citizens of the lesser developed countries such as Latvia, Poland and Lithuania to more developed countries like Ireland and England in search of work, especially in the years before the economic downturn. This has had a huge effect on the Labour Market of the European Union. The enlargement of the EU is expected to prompt European companies to look eastward with their new investments and production lines, while the labour force in the accession countries is expected to look West for better jobs. Will the EU-15 change the EU-10, or vice-versa?
Up until this year EU member states could enforce certain regulations controlling the amount of people entering the country to work and how long they stayed. The majority of the original Member States had enforced restrictions on their employment and welfare systems due to fears of large-scale labour migration from Central andEastern Europe. At the same time, the restrictions did not apply to the EU-10 citizens’ right to live and travel freely throughout the EU.
All the EU-15 Member States had the right to require work permits from citizens of new Member States for at least the first two years. After a total of seven years (up until this year) no EU Member State are allowed to require work permits any more from EU citizens.
The German government are excited about these new changes as they feel they haven’t got enough skilled workers in their country. They now expect around 100,000 workers a year from Eastern European to come to them in search of work.
Britain are definitely not as excited about these new changes as it will give these migrants automatic rights to jobseekers allowance and other state benefits which could end up costing the country a huge amount of money.Britainalso feels that these new laws will encourage the Eastern Europeans already inBritainto stay.
So are these changes good or bad? And who will get the most benefit from them??