This chapter analyses a form of migration – labour migration by non-EU nationals – that is integral to Europe’s migration history, but for which EU competencies are and will probably remain very limited. This is because Article 79(5) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU) states that provisions of the Treaty ‘do not affect the right of member states to determine volumes of admission of third-country nationals coming from third countries to their territory in order to seek work, whether employed or self-employed’. Even with this significant limitation, there has been EU-level debate about labour migration since the end of the 1990s with some EU developments, particularly in relation to migration into high skilled employment. This does not mean that the EU has no ambitions for future development. The EAM of 2015, for example, expresses the intention to ‘build up a coherent and comprehensive approach to reap the benefits and address the challenges deriving from migration’ (CEC 2015a: 2), but there is likely to be significant political opposition if the EU were to move more decisively into this sensitive policy area.
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