The New Pact on Asylum and Migration that the Commission is set to present soon is an “opportunity to give fresh and much-needed impetus to legal and safe migration”.
In a letter to Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas and Commissioner Ylva Johansson sent by Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee, on behalf of the committee, MEPs call for a balanced approach covering all pillars of the EU policy on asylum and migration, also addressing safe and legal migration.
They insist that the Common European Asylum System needs to be complemented by a European Union Resettlement Framework and humanitarian corridors, but stress that safe and legal migration is much broader. Providing legal and safe routes for labour-related migration is key to reducing irregular migration as well as the risks undertaken by persons trying to reach Europe, MEPs underline.
Offering third-country nationals wishing to work in the European Union a lawful path to do so could complement partnerships with third countries already in place and help fill gaps in the labour market, whilst ensuring third-country nationals who are filling these gaps are treated equally and not exploited, the letter notes.
Ambitious framework for legal migration needed
MEPs complain that, despite legal migration being one of the priorities of the European Agenda for Migration announced in 2015, the only legislative proposal in this field in the last legislature was a revision of the Blue Card Directive, a proposal that has been blocked by the Council since the end of 2017.
The Civil Liberties Committee is currently working on an own-initiative report on New Avenues for Legal Labour Migration and hopes that the European Commission is equally ambitious. Among the options on the table, MEPs point to developing sectoral labour migration, but also long-term residence, intra-EU mobility or family reunification rights. “We are looking forward to seeing the Commission move the European framework for legal migration forward”, including by initiating legislative proposals, they say.
MEPs are convinced that all member states could profit from a more harmonised approach to labour migration at European level. In their view, the European Union could contribute to improving third-country nationals’ access to the European labour market, addressing skills demands, making member states more attractive to third-country workers, and improving working conditions and integration of third-country nationals. They stress that the hosting communities would benefit from this on several levels.