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27 May, 2024
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Poland, Spain & Italy are a favorite for working migrants

The EU is experiencing a shortage in the number of young people of working age and migrants may need to fill that gap

Source: Schengen Visa info

The median age in the 27 European Union countries is projected to mark an increase of 4.5 years between 2019 and 2050 to reach 48.2 years.

“We need 400,000 immigrants a year...significantly more than in previous years. From care and air conditioning to logisticians and academics – there will be a shortage of skilled workers everywhere"

According to the EU statistical office, Eurostat, by the half of this century, there will be almost one million people in the EU-27 aged 100 and older, as Europeans are living longer than ever before, which also means the proportion of people of working age in the EU is shrinking, reports.

“Such developments are likely to have profound implications, not only for individuals but also for governments, business and civil society, impacting, among others: health and social care systems, labour markets, public finances and pension entitlements (each of which is covered by subsequent chapters in this publication),” Eurostat foresees in a report released on July this year.

The issue is worrying for many of the Member states, in particular for Germany, which has recently been debating whether to increase the retirement age from 65 to 70 years old due to its ageing population, a dramatic labour shortage and a pension pot shortfall.

The country is also experiencing a shortage in the number of young people as data by the Federal Statistics Office show that only ten per cent of the German population is aged between 15 and 24, while those aged 65 and older account for about 20 per cent of the country’s population.

In August 2021, the Head of the Federal Employment Agency, Detlef Scheele, claimed that Germany needs 400,000 new foreign workers per year to meet the needs of the labour market.

“We need 400,000 immigrants a year. In other words, significantly more than in previous years. From care and air conditioning to logisticians and academics – there will be a shortage of skilled workers everywhere,” Scheele said for SZ.

In their bid to fill in the labour gaps, the EU countries have offered different types of work visas and residence permits to third-country citizens, in different employment sectors, from Croatia, which is the youngest EU Member, to some of the founders of the block, like Germany, France, and Italy.

3 Million New EU Residents in 2021

Recent data by Eurostat show that a total of 2,952,300 third country citizens became residents in one of the EU countries in 2021, 31 per cent more than in 2020. While a large share of these people moved to the EU to join their family members or for study-related purposes, the highest number of first residents in the EU moved to the bloc for employment purposes.

“Employment reasons accounted for 45 per cent of all first residence permits issued in 2021, with 1.3 million permits. This represents an increase of 47 per cent (+429,100) compared with 2020. It is also the highest number of permits issued for employment reasons since the beginning of the time series,” the office says.

It also points out that based on the number of first residence permits for employment issued in 2021, Poland, Spain, Italy, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Portugal, and France are the top favourite migration countries in the EU for workers.

Poland, Spain & Italy Remain Favorite for Working Migrants

In 2021, the Polish authorities issued a total of 790,070 first residence permits for employment purposes, an increase of 55 per cent compared to the previous year, when 502,342 residence permits of this type were issued.

Due to the high number of workers moving to Poland from abroad, this country has created several visa types in order to meet the needs of all of its sectors for importing workers.

In spite of having issued 88 per cent fewer first residence permits for employment purposes compared to Poland, Spain is the second country with the largest number of such permits issued in 2021.

Data show that while in 2021, 88,121 non-EU citizens moved from non-EU countries to Spain for employment reasons, in 2020, 81,158 people had done so.

The number of workers in this country last year reached 2,290,099, a record number representing 11.58 per cent of the total number of affiliates registered with Spain’s Social Security.

“In terms of average Social Security affiliation, there were 2,263,281 foreign contributors in November, of whom 792,644 were from EU countries (35.02 per cent) and 1,470,636 from third countries (64.98 per cent). This is 2,137 more than in October,” reveals a statement issued by the Spanish authorities in November last year.

Data also show that 333,795 of these workers were from Romania, 275,111 from Morocco, 141,521 from Italy, 105,409 from China, 104,834 from Venezuela, 100,227 from Colombia, 71,915 Ecuadorians, and 67,214 Britons

Third on this list is Italy, which issued 50,597 first employment residence permits in 2021, which is an increase of almost 400 per cent compared to the 10,243 first permits for work purposes issued in 2020. The same issued 11,069 permits of this kind in 2019, 13,877 in 2018, and 8,409 in 2017.

The Czech Republic, on the other hand, issued another 41,592 first permits of residence for foreign workers in 2019, which is higher than the 29,217 permits issued in 2020 but quite lower than the 66,440 permits issued in 2019.

Hungary is listed as the fifth country with the largest number of first residence permits issued for non-EU workers in 2021 when it issued 38,960 permits of this type, a number close to that of 2020 (31,840) and 2019 (38,875).

In spite of being quite famous amongst foreign workers, Germany issued only 18,322 first permits of residence for foreign employees, and Switzerland only 10,062.

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