The idea of the free movement of persons under a common market has been touted since the very beginning of the European Union (EU) and its initial treaties. The freedom of movement of persons is one of the EU’s key principles and comprises one of the four fundamental rights, seeing as its primary objective is labour mobility. Labour mobility allows citizens coming from Member States with high levels of unemployment to move to other EU states with a considerable demand for workers. Therefore, this concept of labour mobility supports a better economy through an improved allocation of resources.
By moving to another state to study and work, one can gain skills that otherwise would not have been attainable from the home country. The principle of non-discrimination, which is also a fundamental right of the Union, allows employers to select candidates on merit rather than on their nationality. One is able to reside in the host country and stay even after the employment is finished, all while enjoying equal treatment with that Member State’s nationals. Upon returning to their home country, individuals will contribute to their state’s economy through the higher employability skills they would have attained overseas.
Though a fear of people moving to a state for benefits rather than for work has always been present, statistically it has been shown that labour mobility supports the state economically. Workers who choose to take up employment abroad are usually of a young age and possess a strong work ethic. Whenever an economy is not doing well, less migrants come into a state, and parallel to this, more people leave to reside in another state. This has, therefore, proven to help the overall economic growth of the European Union.
Through such possibilities of working and studying abroad, a citizen is able to exploit all European citizenship rights. Cultures and languages can get intermixed, and in the end this encourages and helps all those wanting to find a job or study abroad feel more familiar in their new surroundings. Therefore, with all the positive cultural and economic effects of labour mobility within the EU, educational and job opportunities will most definitely stay on the rise throughout the Union.
This article was written by a student reading for a Bachelor's degree in European Studies at the University of Malta.
Each year Europe Direct Valletta hosts two tertiary level students so that they may be exposed to the world of work and contribute to the EDIC's undertakings. This initiative has proven to be beneficial mutual learning exercise both for the EDIC as well as the students it hosts.