Articles

Numbers

Stock vs Flow

In economics, a ‘stock’ is a measurement taken at a specific point in time. A ‘flow’ is measured over a particular interval. Stocks are measured in units – pounds sterling, number of attendees, kilometers. Flows are measured in units/time – salary per annum, sales per month, or kilometers per hour. Stocks and flows can tell […]

Flow greater than stock would indicate

When we think about migrants and migration, we tend to think in terms of people who move somewhere permanently — or at least for the long-term. Academics refer to the population of migrants in a given country as the ‘stock’, and it is a standard measure of the size of the migrant population. But REMINDER […]

Access to welfare plays a minor role in decisions to migrate

While media stories and public concerns about migration can often focus on the ‘welfare frame’, REMINDER analysis highlighted that access to public services and the welfare system is rarely a determining factor for intra-EU migrants. However, the team did find it may be more important for some non-EU migrants seeking asylum. The researchers found little […]

Methodology for mapping migration

In order to map migration into and around the EU, and particularly to understand intra-EU mobility, you need to start by identifying three key things: Definitions: how do you define the different groups of people you talking about? Sources: what sources of information are available, and what definitions are they making use of? Dynamics: what […]

Overview of EU migration patterns

People move into and around the EU for all sorts of reasons. The largest numbers of mobile EU citizens living outside their countries of birth in 2017 were those in Germany, the UK, France, Spain and Italy, and the largest numbers, unsurprisingly, tend to be in older EU member states (the EU15) and those with […]

Language requirements and migration

Language matters in migration choices: in a survey undertaken for the REMINDER project, the most common top answer for the ‘most important reasons for choosing the country of destination’ was that the county offered a particular university degree. But most student migrants also said their decisions were affected by whether they could study in a […]

Language and education

Much debate about intra-EU mobility focuses on those who move for work, but this can obscure the fact that people’s reasons for migrating tend to be more complex than that. This can have ramifications for policymaking. For example, about half of EU migrants in the UK originally migrated there for work reasons, a third for […]

Impacts

Methodology for analysis of labour market and public service impacts of migration

REMINDER’s analysis of the labour market and public service impacts of intra-EU migration was conducted in two steps.  First, the researchers used regression analysis to estimate the impact of migration on the labour market outcomes of natives, paying particular attention to how immigration might affect the occupational choices of natives. To do this, they combined […]

Methodology for examining perceptions of EU mobility in sending countries

While there is a significant body of research around the effects of EU free movement for key destination countries, less attention has been paid to how EU mobility impacts upon those countries which typically ‘send’, rather than ‘receive’ migrants, and how governments, employers, and other stakeholders think about these impacts.  The REMINDER project set out […]

Distinction between migration and mobility

Because intra-EU migrants have an automatic right to live and work outside their country of citizenship, it’s useful to distinguish between intra-EU migration and all other types of migration. Migration between one EU country and another is known as ‘intra-EU mobility’. It is still a form of international migration, but it’s usually treated separately in […]

EU citizens don't distinguish migration and mobility

The difference between ‘EU mobility’ — the right of EU citizens to move freely around the bloc — and the ‘migration’ of non-EU nationals into the EU is a crucial distinction for the European project, and has the effect of making the entire region operate (from a migration perspective at least) much like one large […]

Sending countries' perception of migration

In countries that have mainly sent workers to other EU countries rather than received them, labour mobility associated with enlargement of the EU is perceived to have both positive and negative consequences. In Slovakia, government stakeholders and academic experts argue that labour mobility to Austria helped reduce unemployment rates, and that the commuting of highly […]

Net economic effect of migration

The REMINDER project highlighted that EU migrants tend to contribute a little more to the public finances of host countries than they cost in terms of welfare benefits and public services. This chart shows that these ‘net fiscal effects’ are generally positive in the majority of EU countries, but modest. Researchers found that, for most […]

What makes Poland unique?

Definitions matter in debates about migration, and this is well illustrated by data showing the fiscal effects (the difference between taxes paid and the cost of services and benefits received) of intra-EU mobility in Poland. At face value, the data appear to show that, while most countries have seen a relatively small and generally positive […]

Migrants contribute more to welfare than they receive

This chart shows REMINDER analysis demonstrating that the impact of an average EU migrant household on public finances (fiscal impact) was positive — meaning they contributed more than they received — during the ten-year period between 2005 and 2015.  The REMINDER team classified EU countries in terms of five different welfare regimes (Basic security; Continental […]

Immigration and native worker shift

The majority of academic literature concludes that immigrants tend to be younger, healthier, and have lower levels of formal education than the average population of their destination country. This is a result of self-selection — that is, who tends to leave their home country, and who tends to stay. Coupled with other disadvantages — such […]

Migration and workplace accidents in Spain

Immigration tends to reduce the number of accidents in the workplace. In Spain during the economic boom of 2004-2009, a significant increase in migrant labour meant a move out of higher-risk roles for Spanish-born workers, which led to a reduction in accidents overall. For every extra 1000 immigrants of a particular gender and education level […]

Lower health care costs

REMINDER analysis in the UK showed that an increase in the share of migrants in an area actually reduced hospital waiting times. In addition, having more migrants in the labour market was also correlated with a fall in workplace injuries for the native population. Interestingly, the injury rate as a whole also appeared to reduce […]

Language requirements and migration

Language matters in migration choices: in a survey undertaken for the REMINDER project, the most common top answer for the ‘most important reasons for choosing the country of destination’ was that the county offered a particular university degree. But most student migrants also said their decisions were affected by whether they could study in a […]

Push and pull factors

People move for many reasons, and often for more than just one. But, however complex the reasons, researchers often find it useful to consider which factors act as a ‘push’, encouraging someone to emigrate from one country, and which act as a ‘pull’, encouraging them to choose a particular country as their destination. Within the […]

German v English in Slovakia

It is not only migration policies — or even economic or welfare policies — that can shape patterns of mobility. For example, REMINDER researchers highlighted that changes in language teaching in Slovakian schools in the late 1990s may have had a significant impact on cross-border commuting between Slovakia and Austria. German was taught as a […]

Media

Three forces shaping journalism

Media content is created by people, each of whom is exposed to a complex set of pressures, influences, experiences and narratives that shape his or her thinking. REMINDER analysis highlighted that journalists are consumers of media as well as producers of it, and most have to contend with editors’ expectations and work under pressure. Most […]

Media coverage framed in security terms

The REMINDER project used computer-assisted techniques to analyse the content of more than seven million news stories about immigration from 35 news outlets in seven EU member states. The team looked at three frames in particular: economic framing, welfare framing and security framing. While migration in general tends in most countries to be framed in […]

Entrenched media practices vs facts about migration

There is often little correlation between the ‘facts’ of migration and how the topic is covered by the media. In most of the countries surveyed by the REMINDER project, objective factors (such as the number of migrants present in a country or the actual effects of immigration on host economies or welfare systems) were not […]

Methodology for analysis of media practices

To understand the working practices of journalists around Europe, the REMINDER team interviewed 221 ‘media practitioners’. Most of these were working journalists reporting on migration issues, but a smaller share (29%) were ‘sources’ (often from NGOs, think tanks and government) who supplied media with migration stories. Interviews took place in Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Romania, […]

Three types of media

The REMINDER project was undertaken in the aftermath of both the Mediterranean ‘migration crisis’ and the Brexit referendum in the UK. Researchers looked at reporting practices in nine different countries, including both new and old EU member states. The issue of migration was considered contentious, politicised, and relevant to journalists everywhere, though to differing degrees. […]

Reporters often 'other' migrants

Migrants are often described in ways that make them seem very different from people in the communities into which they are moving. Frequently, locals are portrayed as ‘us’ and migrants as ‘them’, or as something ‘other’. Both intra-European migrants from Eastern Europe and non-European migrants from the Middle East are often described as ‘illegal’ or […]

Non-EU vs EU coverage

News stories about intra-EU mobility tend to focus on economic and welfare issues, while those about migrants from outside the EU focus more on security issues. REMINDER’s analysis of millions of articles dealing with migration and intra-EU mobility showed a distinct difference between the ‘framing’ (effectively the types of issues discussed and not discussed) in […]

Rapid change and institutional failure drive media coverage

REMINDER researchers found that rapid change was invariably considered a ‘good story’ by journalists – and therefore worthy of reporting – as were perceived failures of government. Unsurprisingly then, inflows of migrants, coupled with concepts of a ‘lack of control’, were generally themes that journalists felt merited reporting across all of the sampled countries (Germany, […]

Coverage of EU migration more positive than non-EU

The REMINDER project’s quantitative analysis of media coverage showed that, in general, coverage of migration tends to be negative in tone. However, coverage of intra-European mobility in particular is comparatively positive. An exception is Germany, which had very high levels of immigration from other EU countries. The researchers looked in particular for three ‘frames’ in […]

Migrant numbers vs perceptions in shaping coverage

REMINDER analysis highlighted that there isn’t a clear relationship between the numbers of migrants in, or migration to/from, a given country and the response of journalists to the issue. For example, in the UK, journalists were focussed on EU migration even as data repeatedly showed that the greatest share of migration to the UK was […]

Very little coverage of EU migration

The REMINDER project undertook a massive investigation into the content of newspaper coverage of migration and intra-EU mobility in seven different EU member states from 2003 to 2017. Overall, coverage of intra-EU mobility tends to comprise only a small part of all migration-related media discourse. The researchers found that, during this time period, on average […]

Methodology for mapping media discourse about migration

To understand what media and social media content about migration and mobility in the EU looks like, REMINDER researchers created a large database of media articles and social media posts dealing with migration and intra-EU mobility. They then used computer-assisted techniques to analyse the content and tone of these articles. The final database spans a […]

Reporting on motivation for migration

The most common themes in media coverage of intra-EU mobility that the REMINDER team found related to either ‘economic’ or ‘welfare’ considerations. This suggests that the primary concerns about intra EU migrants relate to the work that they are doing, or whether are receiving welfare. This differs from the frames about non-EU migrants, which tend […]

Public Opinion

Negative media coverage leads to negative attitudes

The REMINDER project tested how different types of stories shape the way people think about free movement in Europe. Researchers asked groups of people (in total more than 7,000 individuals) to read a variety of fictional articles which described the economic and labour market impacts of free movement, dealing with both immigration and emigration, in […]

Opinion in sending vs receiving countries

Overall, the REMINDER project’s analysis showed that in the EU, attitudes toward free movement tend to be positive. Public opinion toward free movement is more positive in countries that mainly ‘send’ their citizens, than those that mainly receive them. In a survey of public opinion carried out by researchers, attitudes toward freedom of movement were […]

Attitudes stable but influenced by media

One part of the REMINDER project was a panel survey and experiment looking at attitudes to free movement and migration, and factors that influence the formation of those opinions, in seven case study countries: the UK, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Hungary, Romania and Poland. The results showed that people don’t tend to change their attitudes to […]

Attitudes correlate to perceived threats

The REMINDER project found attitudes toward free movement are affected by perceived threats from immigration both from within and outside the EU. The project looked at Europeans’ attitudes toward free movement in relation to immigrants from Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Western Europe, based on perceptions of: economic impacts cultural impacts security impacts […]

Attitudes on unemployment

The REMINDER Project examined public opinion data from more than 130,000 people around the EU to understand what factors drive concerns about migration and intra-EU mobility. The researchers found evidence that people tend to form their opinions about the impacts of migration based on how many foreign-born people were receiving benefits, rather than on whether […]

Attitudes on welfare benefits

REMINDER researchers analysed public opinion data to understand how people feel about both intra-EU mobility and migrants from outside the EU. In particular, they looked at views on whether different types of migration should be restricted and perceptions of the impact these different groups have on public finances. Generally only about one respondent in 10 […]

Governance

Methodology for analysis of politics and institutions

Why do some EU Member States want to reform the current EU regulations around free movement by restricting EU workers’ access to welfare benefits, while other EU countries want to keep the current rules? To investigate this question, the REMINDER project studied whether and why EU Member States want to restrict EU workers’ welfare benefits, […]

EU laws on mobility

‘Free movement’ for workers is one of the fundamental freedoms of the European Union. In recent years it has been subject to highly divisive political debates. At the centre of the debate are the current rules for this freedom, according to which EU citizens can move and take up employment in any other EU country […]

Conceptual framework for policy

When people think about why some EU countries are more open to EU free movement than others they often point to key ‘actors’ like populist political parties, or the media. However, differences in national institutions, especially national welfare and labour market institutions, can also shape the way that national publics and policymakers think about free […]

Common rules link emigration and immigration

States can — and often do — design their immigration policies in isolation of their emigration policies. It is not uncommon, for example, for countries to call for greater protection and equality of rights for their nationals working abroad while at the same time not granting these same rights and protections to foreign nationals working […]

Policy has direct and indirect impacts

The ways in which national labour markets and welfare states are structured can affect how the public and policy makers respond to free movement. These impacts can be direct or indirect. Direct impacts relate to how these structural factors might shape the actual scale, characteristics and effects of mobility – for example, by creating a […]

Defining migration

There is no single definition of a ‘migrant’ – the UN defines a long term international migrant as: A person who moves to a country other than that of his or her usual residence for a period of at least one year, so that the country of destination effectively becomes his or her new country […]

Free movement and welfare chauvinism

‘Welfare chauvinism’ refers to an attitude wherein citizens of a given country seek to exclude migrants and other non-citizens from gaining access to what citizens perceive to be ‘their’ rights. The attitude might arise from concerns that migrants are a burden on the welfare state, or from ideas about ‘fairness’ and the ‘deservingness’ of those receiving […]

UK calls for reduced migration

After the election of David Cameron as Prime Minister in 2010, the United Kingdom introduced a suite of measures designed to reduce net migration (the difference between the number of immigrants moving to a country and the number or emigrants leaving) to under 100,000 per year (the ‘tens of thousands’). This set of policies affected […]

Regulated economies and migration

In ‘liberal market economies’ (LMEs) like the UK, there is significant flexibility around wages and employment rights, and training and education tends to produce people with general skills. In LMEs, workers typically bargain for wages individually.  By contrast, ‘coordinated market economies’ (CMEs) are characterised by coordinated wage bargaining (typically between employers and trades unions) and […]

Linking contributions to benefits

Different national welfare models and policies tend to be based on different underlying principles about who, among the resident population, should get access to welfare benefits and in what situation: for example, whether access to benefits should be based on ‘need’, ‘prior contribution’ or ‘universal access’. In countries where there is a strong sense that […]

Media and calls to restrict migration

It is commonly argued that ‘the media’ plays on populistic emotions and influences public perceptions of the scale and impact of free movement. REMINDER analysis digs deep into media coverage of migration and the processes that create that coverage, while also suggesting that public and policy responses to the cross-border mobility of EU workers are […]

Factors in labour immigration policy

The design of national labour immigration policy normally requires a state to decide on three fundamental issues:  How to regulate the number of migrant workers to be admitted; for instance, through quotas or caps;  How to select migrants. This may be based on ‘skill’ as defined by qualifications or salary, but may also include other […]

Impact of migration on wages

The impact of migration on wages has always been a highly contested and polarising subject. Impacts will differ from country to country, depending on the sort of labour market regulations that are in place. The REMINDER project’s analysis highlights that the key difference is between ‘liberal market economies’ (LMEs) such as that of the UK, […]

Concentrating effects on low-wage workers

The evidence about the impact of migrants on wages suggests small effects on average and potentially larger effects in specific occupations. These effects can vary across countries and over time as they partly depend on the type of labour market in the host country, and on the characteristics of incoming migrants. In flexible labour markets, […]