Migration and Home Affairs

Legal Migration Fitness Check

On 29 March 2019 the Fitness Check on the EU Legislation on Legal Migration" was adopted, and the Staff working document (SWD(2019)1055) is now available here:

On the same day three implementation reports were adopted by the European Commission on three of the Directives:

A supporting study carried out by an external contractor is also available Main report and Executive summary, alongside Annex 1 (contextual analysis), Annex 2 (implementation), Annex 3 (consultation) and Annex 4 (evaluation).

The OECD has published a study entitled "Building an EU Talent Pool - a new approach to migration management for Europe", and a Migration Policy Debate  brief on "The Expression of Interest Model: What Lessons for Migration Management in the EU and elsewhere?".

Background to the Legal Migration Fitness Check

The purpose of this Fitness Check was to evaluate and assess the existing EU legislation on legal migration based on the following five evaluation criteria: Relevance, Coherence, Effectiveness, Efficiency and EU added value. The Fitness Check aimed at identifying gaps and inconsistencies and consider possible ways of simplifying and streamlining the current EU framework in order to contribute to a better management of legal migration flows.

The results of the Fitness Check may be used as a basis to assess what actions (both legislative and non-legislative) might be required to improve the coherence of the legal migration legislation, as well as its effective and efficient application. It will also be used to consider whether there is any mismatch between the scope of the existing legal migration legislation and the needs for specific EU rules for other categories not covered by the current regime. In addition, the evaluation of the migration legislation will provide a possibility to better attune legal migration policy to the economic and social needs of the EU, also in the light of the need to prevent and combat labour exploitation.

The Fitness Check covers the following Legal Migration Directives (please note that Ireland and Denmark are not bound by these Directives; however, Ireland remains bound by Directive 2005/71/EC (the previous researchers Directive)):

All these Directives are included in the Fitness Check. The relevance and coherence of all Directives were assessed, but the scope and depth of the analysis on other aspects differed depending on how long the Directive has been implemented. The Directives that were adopted in 2014 (Seasonal workers, Intra-corporate transfers), recently adopted as a recast (Students and Researchers, in 2016) or currently subject to a review (EU Blue Card), were only partly considered in this Fitness Check, since a full assessment of effectiveness, efficiency and EU added value was not possible at this stage. For the EU Blue Card, a recent evaluation took place in 2015, and the Fitness Check will build upon that evaluation. For more details on the differentiated approach, see section C. 1 of the Road Map.

Roadmap for this initiative (Date of roadmap: 01/09/2016)

The Roadmap provides further information on the initiative. Stakeholders were invited to provide feedback on the roadmap via this webpage.

No feedback on the roadmap was received.

Timeline of the Fitness Check


Consultation activities

A 12-week open public consultation with a survey in all languages took place and closed on 19 September 2017.

Furthermore, targeted consultations were also carried out, addressing expert groups, forums and networks such as:

  • the European Migration Forum (2-3 March 2017),
  • the Expert Group on Economic Migration, composed of a balanced group of administrations, employers, trade unions, migrants groups and academics,
  • the European Migration Network (with Member States' representatives),
  • other relevant experts groups set up by the European Commission on specific issues,
  • relevant civil society platforms,
  • the European Economic and Social Committee is carrying out a targeted consultation of their members to provide input into the development of the Committee's opinion on the Legal Migration Fitness Check. This consultation focuses on a few Member States and certain aspects of the Fitness Check.

See more in the Consultation Strategy.

View the documents relating to the evaluation

Supporting study to the Legal migration fitness check:

Annex 1: Contextual analysis

Annex 2: Implementation

Annex 3: Consultation

Annex 4: Evaluation

View key reference documents