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Transnational Migration in Transition: Transformative Characteristics of Temporary Mobility of People

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Temporary transnational migration, Europe and Asia

A team from European and Asian institutions studied temporary migration between Asia and Europe. The research revealed differences between the two regions: Asia is more welcoming, while Europe’s restrictive policies and preference for skilled migrants brings social consequences.

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Aside from more permanent migration, temporary migration between Europe and Asia (lifestyle migrants, highly-skilled professionals, international students etc.) is gaining increasing importance. The EU-funded EURA-NET (Transnational migration in transition: Transformative characteristics of temporary mobility of people) project detailed the current situation and policies on temporary migration and their policy impacts. Researchers interviewed EU policymakers, national policymakers in 11 Asian and European countries, and nearly 900 individual migrants. Results indicate that the design and implementation of policies reflect security concerns, labour market needs and demographic issues. The team concluded that policies on temporary migration differ in Asian and European contexts. Asian countries generally welcome temporary migrants from Europe, although institutions and policies regarding residence and employment are not well developed. In contrast, European concerns about immigration are reflected in increasingly restrictive and selective regulations. Various national policies do not necessarily reflect the reality of labour and skills shortages in some sectors. Strict policy regulation also increases irregular migration. The refugee crisis of 2015 where large numbers of irregular migrants arriving in Turkey and Greece developed into a humanitarian crisis. The situation resulted in national policies that are increasingly inward looking and has made reaching an EU consensus more challenging. Researchers also found that the idea of temporary migration negates the need for integration. Both Asian and European countries face serious problems with their integration policies, the greatest of which is language barriers. European countries do not seem to have policies on return migration whereas, especially in China, such policies have been economically beneficial.


Transnational migration, skilled migrants, EURA-NET, transition, temporary mobility

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