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Free movement: workers from eight Member States that joined EU in 2004 finally enjoy full rights

28/04/2011 Free movement: workers from eight Member States that joined EU in 2004 finally enjoy full rights

May 1st 2011 will mark the removal of restrictions on the right to work in any Member State for citizens from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia.

All workers from the countries that joined the EU in 2004 will now be able to take up employment freely in those Member States as well  where labour market restrictions have been in place until the very end of the seven year transitional period ending April 30th 2011. 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.

Looking ahead, the Commission does not expect a significant new wave of workers moving from EU-8 to EU-15 countries after 1 May 2011. According to current estimates, the total stock of nationals from EU-8 countries living in EU-15 Member States will increase 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.

Massive inflows are also not to be expected to Germany and Austria. Any future mobility is likely to be a positive development in these countries in particular which have the lowest unemployment rates and high numbers of job vacancies.