Trends and reasons for East-European labour migration to Ireland and the UK in the first years of Enlargement

As is well known, the UK, Ireland and Sweden opened their labour markets already at the time of the accession of the eight East-European Member States i.e. on May 1, 2004. The main objective of the article is to examine free circulation of labour five years after the first round of EU enlargement. Although the second round of 2007 brought about also important changes, time is too short to analyse their trends. Therefore, the main focus is on immigration pattern of the 8 East-European Member States to those destinations, where as a result of their ‘open door policy’, the inflow was substantial, i.e. Ireland and the UK. Up to 2007 major impact on overall labour market outcomes in the host economies could not be found (for example, Irish data confirmed that in the first years of 2000s immigration was primarily demand-driven). It remains to be seen, however, what the impacts of the current economic and financial crisis would be.Whereas it seems likely that the inflow would decline, the impacts on the composition of migrants are still unclear.
Klára FÓTI
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