OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers

This series is designed to make available to a wider readership selected labour market, social policy and migration studies prepared for use within the OECD. Authorship is usually collective, but principal writers are named. The papers are generally available only in their original language - English or French - with a summary in the other.

English, French

The Impact of the Implementation of Council Directives on Labour Migration Flows from Third Countries to EU Countries

This paper is part of the joint project between the Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission and the OECD’s Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs on “Review of Labour Migration Policy in Europe”. This document has been produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Grant: HOME/2013/EIFX/CA/002 / 30-CE-0615920/00-38 (DI130895) A previous version of this paper (DELSA/ELSA/MI(2015)4) was presented and discussed at the OECD Working Party on Migration in June 2015. The paper assesses the impact of three European Directives – Student Directive, Researcher Directive and the Blue Card Directive – on migration flows from third countries to the EU. Using a difference-in-difference empirical strategy and data from the EU-LFS and Eurostat database on work permits to non-EU workers, it estimates the effect of each Directive on the inflow of targeted third country nationals. Overall, the econometric analysis does not provide evidence of a direct impact of the implementation of either of the Directives on the inflow of targeted groups. Most member states did experience an increase in the inflow of non-EU high skilled workers after the adoption of the Blue Card Directive; however, this increase can be almost entirely explained by positive pre-existing trends in the inflow of this type of immigrants. Similarly, despite the increase in the number of permits issued to students and researchers from third countries in Europe, difference-in-differences estimates do not provide evidence of a direct effect of the implementation of the Student and Researcher Directive on changes in this type of inflows. The absence of a measurable impact of the three Directives analysed may be due to delayed effects of policy changes, which take time to filter into perception and thus affect immigrant inflows to Europe.


JEL: J61: Labor and Demographic Economics / Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers / Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers; R23: Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics / Household Analysis / Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics: Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population; Neighborhood Characteristics; K37: Law and Economics / Other Substantive Areas of Law / Immigration Law; F22: International Economics / International Factor Movements and International Business / International Migration
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