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Move to Work, Move to Stay? Mapping Atypical Labour Migration into Germany

Labour Mobility in the Enlarged Single European Market

ISBN: 978-1-78635-442-6, eISBN: 978-1-78635-441-9

Publication date: 11 November 2016


Germany has become one of the major destination countries for labour migration within the European Union. The German government introduced temporary restrictions on labour migration after the eastern enlargement rounds of 2004 and 2007. These barriers had little impact on the overall volume of labour mobility. Rather they were accompanied by new “atypical” forms of mobility through the posting of workers, self-employment and seasonal workers, which according to EU rules are covered only by a minimum of host country regulations. The combination of temporary restrictions on regular migration and the opportunities through atypical mobility created strong incentives for companies to engage in ‘regime shopping’ strategies. This contributed to a considerable growth in outsourcing, subcontracting and flexible use of external labour added to pre-existing dynamics of low-wage competition, segmentation and fragmentation in the German labour market. Using data on the different forms of intra-EU migration to Germany, the article analyses the different paths that labour migration has frequently used since the fall of the Iron Curtain. First, it maps the changes in magnitude, character and direction of intra-EU labour mobility to Germany and the relative weight of the different channels through which such movements occurred from 2000 to 2015. Second, the article discusses the various responses by the government by the extension of collective agreements and the statutory minimum wage.



Wagner, B. and Hassel, A. (2016), "Move to Work, Move to Stay? Mapping Atypical Labour Migration into Germany", Labour Mobility in the Enlarged Single European Market (Comparative Social Research, Vol. 32), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 125-158.



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