Migrants from central and eastern EU Member States access fewer benefits overall than local population
A significantly lower proportion of EU10 EU mobile citizens are accessing social housing and pensions in host countries than the native population. However, the report highlights that there are certain benefits, such as unemployment or in-work benefits, that EU10 citizens claim more than the native population in most of those countries where such data are available. This is mainly due to the fact that migrant labour is concentrated in sectors such as construction, which were adversely impacted by the economic crisis.
Despite the fact that access to certain employment-related benefits was higher in some countries, this appears to be mainly an immediate consequence of the economic crisis, and the gap between the take-up of unemployment benefits by migrant EU10 citizens and the native population may narrow down or even disappear in the foreseeable future.
The report also shows that the concentration of migrants in some areas has produced unexpected challenges in certain sectors, most notably in compulsory education for younger children. This is because the demographic profile of EU10 migrants is often different than the local population and they are more likely to access particular services. In this regard a greater knowledge and awareness is required among authorities and public service providers of the requirements of EU-migrants. Local authorities should also be adequately trained to apply rules correctly in complying with the fundamental rights of EU citizens.
The report highlights that the welfare dependency of EU mobile workers is reduced when there is successful integration, and more can be done to improve the integration of EU10 migrants. In particular, more should be done by Member States in order to support language learning among migrants. This would not only help unemployed EU mobile workers to find new jobs in their host countries, it would also help to ease any local tensions that migratory shifts may have caused, as well as help to further disprove false perceptions of welfare tourism, which are not based on the facts.
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