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EU Enlargement under Continued Mobility Restrictions: Consequences for the German Labor Market

  • Brenke, Karl
  • Yuksel, Mutlu
  • Zimmermann, Klaus F

The numbers of migrants from the accessions countries have clearly increased since the enlargement of the EU in 2004. Following enlargement, the net inflow of EU8 immigrants has become 2.5 times larger than the four-year period before enlargement. Poles constitute the largest immigrant group among the EU8 immigrants: since enlargement, 63% of all immigrants and 71% of EU8 immigrants are from Poland. This chapter presents new evidence on the impact of immigrant flow from EU8 countries on the German labor market since EU enlargement. Unlike other EU countries, Germany has not immediately opened up its labor market for immigrants from the new member states. Nevertheless, our analysis documents a substantial inflow and suggests that the composition of EU8 immigrants has changed since EU enlargement. The majority of the new EU8 immigrants are male and young, and they are less educated compared to previous immigrant groups. We also find that recent EU8 immigrants are more likely to be self-employed than employed as a wage earner. Furthermore, these recent EU8 immigrants earn less conditional on being employed or self-employed. Our findings suggest that these recent EU8 immigrants are more likely to compete with immigrants from outside of Europe for low-skilled jobs instead of competing with German natives. While Germany needs high-skilled immigrants, our analysis suggests that the new EU8 immigrants only replace non-EU immigrants in low-skilled jobs. These results underline the importance of more open immigration policies targeting high-skilled immigrants. The current policy not only cannot attract the required high-skilled workforce, but also cannot avoid the attraction of low-skilled immigrants, and is a complete failure.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 7274.

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Date of creation: Apr 2009
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:7274
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  1. Kahanec, Martin & Zimmermann, Klaus F, 2009. "Migration in an enlarged EU: A challenging solution?," CEPR Discussion Papers 7200, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Bonin, Holger & Eichhorst, Werner & Florman, Christer & Hansen, Mette Okkels & Skiöld, Lena & Stuhler, Jan & Tatsiramos, Konstantinos & Thomasen, Henrik & Zimmermann, Klaus F., 2008. "Report No. 19: Geographic Mobility in the European Union: Optimising its Economic and Social Benefits," IZA Research Reports 19, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. Karl Brenke & Klaus F. Zimmermann, 2007. "Zuwanderungen aus Mittel- und Osteuropa trotz Arbeitsmarktbarrieren deutlich gestiegen," DIW Wochenbericht, DIW Berlin, German Institute for Economic Research, vol. 74(44), pages 645-653.
  4. De Giorgi, Giacomo & Pellizzari, Michele, 2009. "Welfare migration in Europe," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 353-363, August.
  5. De Giorgi, Giacomo & Pellizzari, Michele, 2006. "Welfare Migration in Europe and the Cost of a Harmonised Social Assistance," IZA Discussion Papers 2094, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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