Integration of immigrant workers

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EESC opinion: Integration of immigrant workers

Key points

The EESC emphasises the European added value of employment policies and immigration and integration policies. Purely national policies do not work; it will be necessary to strengthen the European grounding of these policies.

Immigrant men and women are making a positive contribution to economic development and well being in Europe. As a result of its demographic circumstances, the EU will need to take in more new immigrants.

Integration processes need to be improved in the interests of both economic efficiency and social cohesion. Employment is a key aspect of integration.

Integration is a two-way social process of mutual accommodation that must be facilitated by means of good governance and sound legislation. The EESC calls on the Council to adopt a Directive guaranteeing a common framework of rights for immigrant workers, and to enhance existing anti discrimination legislation.

Workplace integration accompanied by equal opportunities and equal treatment represents a challenge for the social partners too, which they must uphold in collective bargaining and the social dialogue, including at European level. Immigrant workers must also be receptive to integration.

Businesses are operating in an increasingly diverse environment. They must adopt a positive approach to cultural diversity, in order to enhance integration and also to maximise their opportunities.

The EESC proposes that the Commission request an exploratory opinion on the creation of a European platform for dialogue on managing labour migration, as set out in the Stockholm Programme.