The Commission does not expect huge flows of workers from the EU-8 countries as many wanting to move to work in an EU-15 Member State have already done so. Experience and studies show that the impact of any future mobility is likely to be positive, contributing to economic growth and filling existing labour market shortages.
According to estimates from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the net flows of nationals from EU-8 countries (i.e. the Member States that joined in 2004 except Malta and Cyprus) to EU-15 Member States could be around 200,000 per year in 2011-2013, decreasing gradually to 150,000 per year in 2015 and less than 100,000 per year in 2020. It is much lower than the level reached in the years 2006-2007 (around 350,000 per year). If those forecasts are confirmed, the total stock of nationals from EU-8 countries living in EU-15 Member States will increase from the current 2.4 million to 3.3 million in 2015 and 3.9 million in 2020 and their share in the total population from currently 0.6% to 0.8% in 2015 and a bit less than 1% in 2020.
Workers from Bulgaria and Romania currently enjoy full rights to free movement in 14 (of 25) Member States (Denmark, Estonia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Slovakia, Finland, Sweden, Hungary, Greece, Spain and Portugal) and also do not need a work permit to work in the Czech Republic. The remaining 10 Member States (Belgium, Germany, Ireland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Austria and UK) maintain their work permit system for Bulgarian and Romanian workers, albeit in some cases with modifications in comparison to the conditions and procedures that applied to them prior to EU accession.
Malta grants work permits for positions that require qualified and/or experienced workers and for those occupations for which there is a shortage of workers.