EU approves new migration rules
Directive gives more rights to abused migrants
Ivan Camilleri, Brussels
The Malta Times
Monday, 1st June 2009
Two EU directives related to migration have been given the green light by all member states, which now have 24 months to transpose them into their national law books.
The rules are intended to make it easier for member states to attract highly-qualified migrants while introducing sanctions against employers who abuse immigrants.
The sanctions directive will put the onus on the employer rather than the abused migrant in the case of any clandestine work.
The directive imposes penal sanctions in the most serious cases and ensures the automatic recovery of unpaid wages. It also sets up a mechanism for lodging complaints and gives more rights to abused migrants to blow the “exploitation” whistle.
Many employers in the EU take on illegal immigrants to escape paying taxes while paying low wages. This has acted as a pull-factor for more migrants to cross over to the EU.
Malta is no exception and some employers have chosen to abuse the employment system and exploit migrants, mainly in the construction and catering sectors.
The so-called blue card directive was also given the final endorsement by the EU this week.
The new system is designed to act as a residence and work permit for two years (renewable) to compete with other popular destinations for qualified immigrants, via common criteria.
According to recent figures, in the EU's total employed population, 1.7 per cent are highly qualified workers from non-EU countries, compared to 9.9 per cent of migrants in Australia, 7.3 per cent in Canada, 3.2 per cent in the US and 5.3 per cent in Switzerland.
The blue card will not replace national admission systems but complement them.
Applicants wanting to work in the EU would have to meet wage criteria by obtaining a paid position of at least 1.5 times the average gross annual wage of the receiving country. This threshold may be lowered to 1.2 for certain professions suffering from a shortage of workers, such as the medical profession.
The applicants must also have a diploma giving official recognition of at least three years of higher education or proof of five years of equivalent professional experience.
In return, those admitted will be granted socio-economic rights, family reunification and the status of long-term resident or even the right to obtain a highly qualified job in another member state.
Welcoming the final rubber stamp on the directives, EU Justice Commissioner Jacques Barrot said the two texts paved the way in Europe for “selective immigration”, established by the European pact on immigration and asylum, adopted by member states last October.
Joe Fenech (1 day, 13 hours ago)
Why are our useless local representatives in the European parliament not vetoing such stupid decisions?!
Where is the PN of Nerik Mizzi (the TRUE Nationalist – all that came after him were Socialists!), and where is the patriotic MLP of Mintoff?????
Why have we hibernated?
I cant see me voting for anyone else than Emi, Lowell or AN ! You haven't left us any choice.
Matthew Agius (2 days, 13 hours ago)
“Let's get out of the eu in the interests of our country, our workers and Maltese society”
Joe Fenech (2 days, 16 hours ago)
This means that ILLEGALS will be made legal more easily!!! We need NO ONE from outer Europe – Europe has amongst the best pro on earth!
This is a plan to destroy Europe. There is some backhanding going on there…
lgalea (2 days, 17 hours ago)
How many times has the eu kept asking the people such as in Ireland, France etc to approve its treaties when they had said NO?
So is it ok for the eu to disregard the peoples answer and continue asking them to approve them but it is not ok for others to do the same?
Re employers ask the workers or see the various reports on the media.
Robert Scullion (2 days, 20 hours ago)
@lgalea only highlighting your inaccurancies also didn't the workers get asked a few years ago about the EU and said yes. Then said yes in 2 General Elections .. why can't you accept the will of the people .. or do you harbour such resentment that you can only accept the will of the people when they vote how you want them .. hardly democracy oh still waiting on YOU declaring which employers are uncutting wages so we can boycott them :)
lgalea (2 days, 21 hours ago)
Robert Scullion It seems that you are always ranting and raving in favour of the eu and its brusselscrat scullion. Ask workers and they will tell you. Or perhaps you are living in another galaxy?
Robert Scullion (2 days, 23 hours ago)
brusselscrats .. is that your new anti-eu word for the month of June ?
Perhaps if you know of any employers who are undercutting wages you could let us know .. so we could all boycott the company? Unless of course you're just ranting in your standard anti-EU voice ..
Joanne Micallef (2 days, 23 hours ago)
Whilst the blue card is valuable to attract highly qualified migrants, which will help Europe support it's ageing population. Europe's major immigration problems lie with the unskilled illegal immigrants who unfortunately are always on the increase within the EU. These people compete directly with each country's unskilled workforce who end up losing their jobs to cheap undeclared labor. Apart from the great loss of income each country suffers due to this black economy, such practice is also causing a rise in unemployment benefits all over, which in turn cause an even greater strain on the economy.
So lets hope that the EU will finally see the bigger picture and tackle those issues that are seriously threatening our livelihood.
lgalea (3 days, 3 hours ago)
And what will happen to the illegal immigrants who are invading us?
Are they going to be sent back Barrot?
And if we don't even have enough work for own own citizens, how does the eu expect us to take immigrants and allow them to work?
Whatever the eu does they will still accept less wages and working conditions and undercut the local workers because they know that if they complain they will not get any work in any member country.
This is again another attempt by the eu brusselscrats to pacify the employers who want to exploit the workers by lowering their wages and working conditions by allowing foreign workers to be available to flood the job market.
Let's get out of the eu in the interests of our country, our workers and Maltese society.