This article addresses the claim, particularly popular in the 2000s and implicitly resting on a segmentation view of the labour market, that a flexible labour market-driven immigration policy (within the EU as well as from outside), often associated to a ‘Canadian model’, would respond to the economic needs of continental European countries.
A comparative historical approach is applied, including analysis of historical series of unemployment and migration data and a qualitative analysis of secondary sources on Germany, Spain and Canada, selected as best representatives of different labour market and immigration regimes. The research asks to what extent, and how, immigration has been used as a ‘buffer’ for labour market uncertainty.
Against ideas of a ‘Canadian’ model advertised in Europe (e.g. Germany), the historical and quantitative analysis shows that Canada itself has moved from short-term labour market-driven immigration policies to more long-term approaches. In fact, there has been a stronger labour market-migration link in Spain, but not without problems,
The article is a small-N comparison of critical cases, that is most different labour market models. Major demographic and geographic differences exist between the three countries, which raises even more scepticism about the suitability of a Canadian model in Europe.
The policy implications are centred on the detected paradox of labour market-driven immigration policies: in order to be sustainable, they need to have a long-term orientation and involve some degree of social integration policies.
The article adds to comparative studies of migration policies through a stronger link to labour market analysis and in particular issues of uncertainty and segmentation.
Meardi, G., Artiles, A.M. and van den Berg, A. (2016), "A Canadian Immigration Model for Europe? Labour Market Uncertainty and Migration Policy in Canada, Germany and Spain", Labour Mobility in the Enlarged Single European Market (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 32), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 99-124. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0195-631020160000032005
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