Labor Mobility #61

Europe Needs to Attract More Migrant Workers.

Nepali Women Defy the Government’s Attempt to Limit Their Travels.

Deutsche Welle | February 25, 2021

Nepal’s recent decision to stop women aged under 40 from traveling abroad caused an outrage. Hundreds of young girls and women took to the streets in a bid to cancel the government’s decision to introduce compulsory official consent from families and local ward offices for women willing to work abroad. While Kathmandu claims that the measure aims to prevent women from falling prey to human traffickers, human rights activists cite the decision as an example of “a deeply rooted patriarchal mindset.”

Europe Needs to Attract More Migrant Workers.

Damian Boeselager | EURACTIV | February 26, 2021

The EU’s dependence on an external workforce will increase as its population continues to age. Over the next 30 years, the active workforce in the Union will drop by almost 50 million. Brussels and EU member states must promote labor mobility and cut the red tape to remain competitive. Immigrants deserve to be treated better, have more freedom of movement and more rights as well. Otherwise, EU member states will be unable to maintain their current generous health and pension schemes and compete with immigration hubs like Canada and the US.

Migrant Workers Hesitate to Return to the UK.

Alice Hancock, Jasmine Cameron-Chileshe and Peggy Hollinger | Financial Times | January 25, 2021

Brexit and the pandemic are forcing migrant workers to leave the UK. Once a top destination for EU workers, mainly from eastern Europe, the country faces an exodus of labor migrants to the continent. According to the Economic Statistics Centre of Excellence, about 158,000 non-UK workers have left or lost jobs in the accommodation and food services sector, while more than 217,000 in the retail industry have gone with London being affected the most. Some of those who left say they are happy to be back home and are not considering going back.

US Announces a Sweeping Immigration Bill.

CNN | February 18, 2021

President Joe Biden has unveiled a new immigration bill. Among other things, it aims to increase the number of diversity visas (from 55,000 to 80,000) to promote immigration from places that don’t otherwise send many immigrants to the US. Its provisions call for creating a commission of employers, labor unions, and civil rights advocates to make recommendations on improving worker verification. This measure would also act as a safeguard against labor exploitation, increasing penalties for employers who hire undocumented workers deliberately.

Kenya Gives out More Licenses to Employment Agencies.

Ishioma Emi | Ventures | January 29, 2021

The current rising demand for Kenyan workers prompted its government to give out licenses to more than 300 recruitment companies against the annual benchmark of 240. These agencies, according to a government official, were thoroughly scrutinized. For Kenya, the vetting of intermediaries is critical. In 2014, the government revoked over 900 recruiting firms’ licenses after reports of abuse had emerged in countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and Lebanon. It also banned labor migration to these countries, partially lifting it in 2016 for individuals with professional qualifications.