Skip to main content

Intra-EU Migration: Legal and Economic View on Jobseekers’ Welfare Rights


International migration influences economies of both the home and the host country. Some countries perceive immigration as a threat and consider limitations to their social security system to protect the domestic economy. Within the European Union, both the economic and the legal side of the issue must be taken into account. The paper presents an empirical analysis of natives’ and immigrants’ unemployment rates in EU15 countries and discusses a possible use of the findings in intra-EU migration policy. Using Labour Force Survey Data for 2012, we estimate a series of logistic regressions in order to compare the immigrant/native unemployment rates, considering the differences in the structure of both subpopulations (in terms of age, sex, education and types of jobs). We conclude that a substantial part of the gap between natives’ and immigrants’ unemployment rates can be explained by these additional characteristics in most of the EU15 countries.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. We used yearly, rather than quarterly, data files, since the availability of some variables is limited in the latter; for instance, the ISCOPR1D variable used in our analyses is limited to those who have lost their job within the past 12 months in quarterly data files, with the same limit being 8 years in yearly data (Eurostat 2013b, p. 83).

  2. In AT data, wave 1, only 7.65 % of all EU migrants are the newcomers, i.e. residing in the host country for less than a year. Such a number cannot be ascertained for the remaining countries, as other countries’ data do not contain either wave 1 or data on the length of residence in the host country.

  3. We exclude the inactive from our analysis, as we want to focus on jobseekers, the most problematic group from the legal standpoint. Moreover, unlike with the unemployment rates, the non-active (= inactive + jobseeker) percentages are in fact lower for the migrant population, by approx. 9 percentage points on average (ICF GHK 2013, p. 18).


  • Anderson, B., & Blinder, S. (2014). Who Counts as a Migrant? Definitions and their Consequences. Migration Observatory Briefing, COMPAS, University of Oxford, UK.

  • Barnard, C. (2005). EU Citizenship and the Principle of Solidarity. In Dougan, M., & Spaventa, E. (Eds.) Social Welfare and EU Law (pp. 157–180). Oxford: Hart Publishing.

  • Barret, A., & Maitre, B. (2011). Immigrant Welfare Receipt across Europe. IZA DP, No. 5515.

  • BBC (2014). UK to seek immigration changes despite Merkel EU ‘warning’. BBC. November 3, 2014.

  • Blinder, S., Ruhs, M., & Vargas-Silva, C. (2011). Top Ten Problems in the Evidence Base for Public Debate and Policy-Making on Immigration in the UK. Migration Observatory Briefing, COMPAS, University of Oxford, UK.

  • Cameron, A.C., & Trivedi, P.K. (2009). Microeconometrics using Stata College Station. TX: Stata Press.

    Google Scholar 

  • Commission of the European Communities (2009). Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council on guidance for better transposition and application of Directive 2004/38/EC on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States. c(2009) 313 final.

  • D’Amuri, F., & Peri, G. (2014). Immigration, jobs, and employment protection: Evidence from Europe before and during the Great recession. Journal of the European Economic Association, 12, 432–464. doi:10.1111/jeea.12040.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dougan, M., & Spaventa, E. (2005). Wish You Weren’t Here. – New Models of Social Solidarity in the European Union. In Dougan, M., & Spaventa, E. (Eds.) Social Welfare and EU Law (pp. 181–218). Oxford: Hart Publishing.

  • Dustmann, C., & Frattini, T. (2014). The Fiscal Effects of Immigration to the UK. The Economic Journal, 124, 593–643.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Dustmann, C., Frattini, T., & Halls, C. (2010). Assessing the Fiscal Costs and Benefits of A8 Migration to the UK. Fiscal Studies 2010, 31(1), 1–41.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Eichenhofer, E. (2012). Sozialrecht, 8th ed. Mohr Siebeck: Tübingen.

    Google Scholar 

  • Eichenhofer, E. (2014). Sozialleistungen für Zuwanderer aus der EU. Soziale Sicherheit, 63, 198.

    Google Scholar 

  • European Court of Justice (1985). Ruling of 27 March 1985 Case C-249/83. ECR 973 [Hoeckx].

  • European Court of Justice (1986). Ruling of 3 July 1986 Case 66/85. ECR 2121 [Lawrie-Blum].

  • European Court of Justice (2001). Ruling of 20 September 2001, Case C-184/99. ECR I-6193 [Grzelzyk].

  • European Court of Justice (2004a). Ruling of 23 March 2004, Case C-138/02. ECR I-2703 [Collins].

  • European Court of Justice (2004b). Ruling of 29 April 2004, Case C-160/02. ECR I-5613 [Skalka].

  • European Court of Justice (2004c). Ruling of 7 September 2004, Case C-456/02 ECR I-7573 [Trojani].

  • European Court of Justice (2005). Ruling of 15 March 2005, Case C-209/03. ECR I-2199 [Collins].

  • European Court of Justice (2009). Ruling of 4 June 2009, Case C-22/08 and C-23/08 ECR I-4585 [Vatsouras/Koupatantze].

  • European Court of Justice (2013). Ruling of 19 September 2013, Case C-140/12 [Brey].

  • European Court of Justice (2014). Ruling of 11 November 2014, Case C-333/13 [Dano].

  • Eurostat (2013a). EU Labour Force Survey Database User Guide.

  • European Court of Justice (2015). Ruling of 15 September 2015, Case C-67/14 [Alimanovic].

  • Eurostat (2013b). EU Labour Force Survey Explanatory notes (to be applied from 2014Q1 onwards).

  • Eurostat (2013c). Labour force survey in the EU, candiyear and EFTA countries – Main char-acteristics of national surveys, 2012 (2013 Edition). Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union.

  • Fuchs, M., & Marhold, F. (2014). Europäisches Arbeitsrecht, 4th edn. Verlag Öster-reich: Wien.

    Google Scholar 

  • ICF GHK (2013). A fact finding analysis on the impact on the Member States’ social security systems of the entitlements of non-active intra-EU migrants to special non-contributory cash benefits and healthcare granted on the basis of residence. ICF GHK in association with Milleu Ltd, 14 October, 2013,

  • Iliopoulou-Penot, A. (2016). Deconstructing the former edifice of Union citizenship? The Alimanovic judgment, Common Market Law Review 53 1007.

  • Mason, R. (2014). David Cameron: Romania and Bulgaria immigration levels reasonable. In The Guardian,

  • Mass, W (Ed.) (2013). Democratic Citizenship and the Free movement of People (Immigration and Asylum Law and Policy in Europe). Martinus Nijhoff.

  • Mikkola, M. (2010). Social Human Rights of Europe. [S.I.]: Karelactio Legisactio.

  • OECD (2013). The fiscal impact of immigration in OECD countries. In International Migration Outlook 2013, (OECD Publishing). doi:10.1787/migr_outlook-2013-6-en.

  • Pieters, D. (2006). Social Security: An Introduction to the Basic Principles, 2nd ed. Alphen aan den Rijn: Kluwer Law International.

    Google Scholar 

  • Poptcheva, E.-M. (2014). Freedom of movement and residence of EU citizens, European Parliamentary Research Service, 140808REV1.

  • Recchi, E., & Favell, A (Eds.) (2009). Pioneers of European Integration. Citizenship and Mobility in the EU. Edward Elgar Pub.

  • Reding, V. (2013). Free movement: Vice-President Reding’s intervention at the Justice and Home Affairs Council. Speech/13/789.

  • Rowthorn, R. (2008). The fiscal impact of immigration on the advanced economies. Oxford Review of Economic Policy. 2009-01-07, 24(3), 560–580.

    Google Scholar 

  • Teyssié, B. (2010). Droit européen du travail 4e ed. Paris: Litec.

    Google Scholar 

  • Verschueren, H. (2014). Free Movement or Benefit Tourism. European Journal of Migration and Law, 16(2014), 147.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vonk, G. (2002). Migration, Social Security and the Law: Some European Dilemmas. European Journal of Social Security, 3, 315–332.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Wooldridge, J.M. (2010). Econometric analysis of cross section and panel data. Cambridge: MIT press.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This research was conducted as part of the research projects of the Faculty of Finance and Accounting (IP100040) and the Faculty of Informatics and Statistics (IP400040), University of Economics, Prague, institutionally supported by the University of Economics, Prague. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for helpful comments and suggestions.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jana Tepperová.



A Regression Results – Numeric Output

Numeric results obtained from the regressions are presented in Tables 4 and 5.

Table 4 APEs of the migrant indicator – country-of-birth definition
Table 5 APEs of the migrant indicator – nationality definition

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tepperová, J., Zouhar, J. & Wilksch, F. Intra-EU Migration: Legal and Economic View on Jobseekers’ Welfare Rights. Int. Migration & Integration 18, 917–936 (2017).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: