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Press release: More rights for migrant workers – but only the lucky few

Commenting on the migration policy proposed today by the European Commission, ETUC Confederal Secretary Ludovic Voet said:

“The vulnerability of migrant workers is too often exploited by rogue employers to increase profits. The measures announced today, like the right of workers to change employer without losing their work permit and penalties for employers who don’t respect workers’ rights, will help prevent the abuse of some migrant workers and that is a welcome step forward.

“But these rights will only apply to the limited number of people who qualify for this single EU work permit. It will not help the many undocumented workers already in Europe who will continue to be exploited in the shadow economy.

“At a time when there are huge labour shortages across Europe, the Commission’s focus on so-called ‘skilled’ workers and attracting ‘talent’ won’t provide a solution. Europe needs builders, agricultural workers, and factory staff far more than it needs tech entrepreneurs. The quickest and fairest solution to the shortage would be to give work and residency permits to undocumented migrants already in Europe and further expand legal pathways for labour migration.  

“Vice-President Schinas said today that migration has a positive impact on Europe and we agree. It was therefore wholly inappropriate for him to meet with representatives of the far-right Vox party on the eve of this announcement. The far-right have no solutions to the real problems faced by working people, whether local or migrant, and the Commission should not have helped give a veneer of respectability to their divisive rhetoric.”

Press release by ETUC