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A positive partnership: labour mobility between Hungary and Austria
Following the lifting of the temporary labour market restrictions introduced after the EU’s 2004 enlargement, a significant number of Hungarians are now migrating to Austria in search of work.
When the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Poland, Slovenia, and Slovakia joined the EU in May 2004 some temporary restrictions were placed upon the freedom of movement, in order to ease the transition to full labour mobility.
As of May 2011 the restrictions have been completely lifted and citizens of the countries now enjoy unlimited freedom to live and work in any of the EU’s Member States. According to data from Austria’s public employment service (PES), in August 2011 the number of working migrants coming from Hungary to Austria stood at 39 509 – an increase of 11 519 or 41 % on 2010’s figures. This increasing trend has been evident throughout 2011 so far.
Professor Herbert Brücker, a migration expert at the Institute for Labour Market and Employment Research (IAB) in Nuremberg, Germany, notes that “on the whole the free movement of labour within the EU is clearly a success story as it leads to higher labour productivity, net benefits for the welfare state and higher personal freedom.”
Helmut Gerl, provisional EURES Manager at AMS Österreich points out that “Austria is mainly an ‘incoming country’. This means that jobseekers from Hungary intending to work in Austria primarily get basic information from the Hungarian PES. They also have the chance to get advice on living and working conditions from the EURES-T Pannonia partnership.**”
Through the EURES network and cross-border partnerships such as EURES-T Pannonia between Austria and Hungary, jobseekers from the eight new member states can now find the necessary support to explore their employment options in any one of the EU’s Member States.
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** The EURES-T Pannonia Partnership is a EURES cross-border partnership between Austria and Hungary. There are currently over 20 EURES cross-border partnerships, spread geographically throughout Europe and involving more than 13 countries. For more information, see the EURES website.