Sant says EU should not drain developing countries of doctors and nurses

Labour MEP takes different view of Brussels plan for legal route for skilled non-EU workers

Labour MEP Alfred Sant
Labour MEP Alfred Sant

Labour MEP Alfred Sant said a new set of rules proposed by the European Commission that will facilitate EU mobility for non-EU workers legally residing in a member state, need to go beyond economic interests.

Sant said the proposed rules require a framework to organise legal migration that also takes into account the the human and social values of migrants.

“Migrant movements are considered mostly, perhaps uniquely, from the economic perspective of labour flows. But their regulation must be grounded as well in human and social values, related to the recipient economies, certainly, but equally to the situation of individual migrants and the societies they are leaving.

“This is not the case in the proposal. It focuses on the mobility of single individuals as suppliers of labour. Their families are only mentioned incidentally by way of ‘family reintegration’.  Migrant families feature not at all.”

Sant said that the proposals only considered skills suited for EU needs and that this risked promoting a model of development “by which less advanced economies pump resources into educating doctors and nurses who on graduation leave to work in advanced economies.”

“Should European migration policy be promoting such a perverse cross-subsidisation?” Sant asked.   

The Commission is proposing a set of ‘Skills and Talent’ proposals to create safe channels to reach Europe for talented migrants.

The EU’s Long-Term Residents Directive and the Single Permit Directive provide the rights for a large part of non-EU workers legally residing in the EU. However, the Long-Term Residents Directive is under-used by member states and does not provide for an effective right to mobility within the EU. And the Single Permit Directive has not fully achieved its objective of simplifying admission procedures for all workers from non-EU countries.

For these reasons, the Commission is proposing an overall revision that will make procedures more efficient and quicker, and strengthen the mobility within the EU of nationals of non-EU countries already residing and working in the EU.

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