Economic crisis and international migration in the EU

Anne Herm, Université catholique de Louvain - Estonian Interuniversity Population Research Centre
Michel Poulain, Université Catholique de Louvain

There is a large amount of literature discussing the impact of the world economy on the levels of international migration flows. The current economic crisis may have strengthened the difficulties for non-EU citizens to enter the territory of the EU either as residence permit holder or under international protection status. Concerning EU citizens, the impact could be a decrease of intra-European mobility and, possibly, increase of extra-European emigration flows. EUROSTAT database allows checking if recent data support these assumptions. Trends of international migration of EU and non-EU citizens will be analysed up to 2008 as well as the recent data on residence permits, asylum requests and refugee status granted up to 2009. Such analysis has to be carried out very carefully as new rules of data collection enforced by the EU Regulation on Community Statistics on Migration and International Protection since 2008 may have an impact of the provided data. Consequently changes observed in 2008 may not reflect real trends and could not be useful to evaluate the possible impact of the economic crisis. The aim of this Regulation is to bring more comparability and reliability to data in the field of international migration, a topic where data are usually of very weak quality. In order to follow the Regulation, countries introduced a lot of changes in the data collection methodology including some innovative estimation methods when the data are not available or clearly unreliable. Thus, by bringing more reliable data, the resulting trends may be misleading and not useful for identifying any impact of the current economic crisis. Only in-depth investigations about changes introduced in the methodology of each country can help to distinguish the impact of the change in data collection and thereafter to enlighten the real effect of the economic crisis on international migration flows in Europe.

Presented in Session 94: Migration statistics and the impact of migration