The cost of non-Europe in the area of legal migration
The EU seeks to build a comprehensive immigration policy in which legally residing non-EU nationals, referred to as third-country nationals (TCNs), should be treated fairly and in a non-discriminatory manner. The EU has adopted secondary legislation covering different categories of TCNs and various stages of the migration process. However, a number of gaps and barriers can still be identified. These concern notably the lack of incorporation and implementation of international and EU human rights and labour standards. Furthermore, they stem from the sectoral approach taken in the EU legal... framework, not covering all TCNs and not in the same way, and in part leaving parallel national schemes in place. Different treatment between TCNs and further barriers result in differences in their employment rate, over-qualification, lower job quality, lower earnings and poorer long-term integration outcomes. At societal level, these deficiencies undermine the EU's ability to attract workers, to tackle EU labour market shortages in specific sectors or occupations, to address demographic changes (an ageing population), and to boost innovation and growth. Further EU action in this area could address these gaps by better implementing and enforcing existing standards, gradually extending the EU legislation to include other sectors, or revisiting the idea of adopting a binding immigration code covering all TCNs. Depending on the policy option pursued, some €21.75 billion in individual and economic benefits could be achieved each year.