Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

News 08/01/2021

Mobility within EU increased in 2019, labour mobility report shows

The European Commission published today the Annual Report on Intra-EU Labour Mobility 2020.

The report identifies trends in free movement of workers and their family members, based on the latest available data (2019/2018). This year’s edition also includes findings on the mobility of high-skilled workers and on mobility and demographic change.

The latest developments confirm that mobility in the EU continued to grow in 2019, but at a slower pace than in previous years. In 2019, 17.9 million Europeans lived in another EU country, out of which 13 million of working age. The number of working-age EU-28 movers grew by 1.2% in 2019, substantially less than the 3.4% in 2018.

The report also shows that for every three persons who leave, two return to their country of origin. Just under half of working-age EU movers (46%) resided in Germany and the UK, and a further 28% in France, Italy and Spain. Romania, Poland, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria remained the five most important countries of origin of mobile workers in general and active mobile workers in particular.

The main sectors of activity for EU-movers in 2019 were manufacturing and wholesale and retail trade, employing 15% and 12% of EU-28 movers, respectively, and 16% and 13% of nationals. The share of high-skilled EU-28 movers increased over time: in 2019, one in three (34%) EU-28 movers was high-skilled, compared to one in four in 2008. Persons are most likely to move at the beginning of their careers, and the likelihood of moving decreases with age.

Throughout the past decade, in all major sending countries, people aged 20 to 39 moved more than other age groups. Among those who strongly intend to move, 75% are below 35 years old.

Please consult the Annual Report on Intra-EU Labour Mobility – 2020 for more details. The main findings of the report are summarised in the Labour mobility at a glance paper, which includes an overview infographic.

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