Table of Contents

Research Handbook on International Law and Migration

Research Handbook on International Law and Migration

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Vincent Chetail and Céline Bauloz

Migration is a complex and multifaceted issue, and the current legal framework suffers from considerable ambiguity and lack of cohesive focus. This Handbook offers a comprehensive take on the intersection of law and migration studies and provides strategies for better understanding the potential of international legal norms in regulating migration. Authoritative analyses by the most renowned and knowledgeable experts in the field focus on important migration issues and challenge the current normative framework with new ways of thinking about the topic.

Chapter 15: Labour migration and the European Union

Elspeth Guild

Subjects: development studies, migration, law - academic, human rights, public international law, politics and public policy, human rights, social policy and sociology, migration, urban and regional studies, migration


Labour migration in the European Union (EU) poses numerous questions regarding its subject matter. Particularly in a volume on international law, the EU has much difficulty determining whether what goes on within the borders of the 28 Member States is international or internal. Migration law forms a central element of that confusion. Is the movement of EU nationals from one Member State to another to seek employment properly designated as labour migration or does the term used by the EU institutions of EU mobility better describe the activity? Does it matter whether the people moving to seek work are nationals of a Member State which only joined the EU recently and in respect of whom transitional arrangements on free movement of workers apply, third-country national family members of EU nationals or EU nationals from the original Member States? At the time of writing in 2013, three Member States (Bulgaria, Croatia and Romania) were still subject to transitional arrangements on the basis of which their nationals do not have the right to go and seek work in any other Member State unless that Member State, in accordance with its national law, has desisted from the application of the transitional measures (the majority by 1 January 2012). Enlargement is not over. There are a number of other candidate countries for EU membership including: Iceland, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, and Turkey. Potential candidate countries include: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Kosovo (a non-state seeks to join a non-state group).

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