Implications of EU Enlargement for India-EU Labour Mobility Competition, Challenges and Opportunities
1st May, 2004 marked the fifth and the largest European Union enlargement, with accessions given to 10 countries, out of which eight were Eastern European. Following this, another round of enlargement took place in 2007, which provided Bulgaria and Romania the EU member status. Introduction of these new States to the EU opened up a whole new debate about labour migration and policies. While the older EU countries (EU-15) consider these New Member States (NMS) as a pool of cheap resources, with the advantage of proximity, it has created skepticism among the Indian migrants, one of the largest migrant groups from the Asian Continent to the EU, about competition and displacement by these newer migrants. This paper tries to address this issue, whether the eastern enlargement of EU will pose competition and threat to the Indian migrants to the EU or would it provide the Indian migrants newer opportunities both in the older EU countries as well as in the NMS.
The paper examines the changes in the trend and the pattern of migration from India and from the NMS pre- and post-enlargement. It observes these changes at a sectoral level and also the changes in the profile of the migrants and tries to understand whether these newly added members are posing threat to the Indian migrants in the EU. The data suggests that the migrants from the NMS are gradually increasing in number in the traditional EU destinations, thus posing competition to the Indian migrants, but, a deeper analysis shows that there are other potential sectors within the older EU countries which can be explored by the Indian migrants. Moreover, with changes in the labour market conditions in the NMS, they are gradually becoming attractive to the Indian migrants. The need is thus to have certain Government policy initiatives for the Indian migrants to explore these potential sectors.
Keywords: Eastern European Enlargement, CEEC, Labour Migration, India.