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Press reports on First EURES Job mobility scheme conflate support for young unemployed Europeans with the Calais situation and do not reflect reality

August 7th, 2015

The Daily Telegraph (EU pays jobless migrants to come to Britain, 3 August) and the Daily Express (Now the European Union pays jobless migrants THOUSANDS to claim jobs in Britain, 4 August) report that one third of the young migrants participating in the EU pilot scheme Your First EURES Job were placed in the UK.

Your First EURES Job mobility scheme supports young people aged between 18 and 35 to find a suitable job, traineeship or apprenticeship within the EU. Financial support is only provided if the job-seeker is short-listed for a vacancy and has been invited for an interview. If the candidate is recruited, only limited further support is provided to cover part of the travel and subsistence cost. It is about helping young unemployed people who want to work hard to do so, not encouraging “jobless migrants” to come to Britain or any other country.

At the same time it helps employers across the EU to find the right people for vacancies that have proven difficult to fill and for which they have not found suitable candidates at national level. It is testing a novel approach to matching young people seeking a job with employers who need them. It also provides limited financial support to employers, including British businesses, to cover integration measures and training measures programmes for the newly hired.

Your First EURES Job is an EU pilot scheme to help young unemployed Europeans find their first job, UK nationals included. It does not cover non-EU citizens and is not applicable to migrants or asylum seekers from third-countries. The largest groups having found jobs via the scheme come from Spain, Sweden and Poland

In the print edition of the Telegraph, the article links the EURES scheme with the Calais situation by saying: “As the Calais crisis deepens, it has emerged that the UK has taken a third of the young migrants involved in the “My First EURES Job” programme.” Online the implied link between young European unemployed people and migrants in Calais is further illustrated by photos of burning tyres and videos of migrants “storming the Channel tunnel.”

The situation in Calais – a complex issue – has no link whatsoever with the Your First EURES Job scheme. The current situation of migrants in Calais concerns non-EU residents from third countries, some of whom are asylum seekers fleeing war and conflict, others economic migrants in search for a better life. Overall, 625 000 people applied for asylum in the EU in 2014: the vast majority have applied elsewhere and are not seeking to reach the UK.

Latest statistics on asylum seekers

As EU members, the UK and France are working together to prevent irregular entry to the UK.

Statement from Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos

Now let’s put the EURES figures quoted in the article into context.

In its first phase, between 2012 and 2015, Your First EURES Job has helped roughly 1 200 young Europeans find a placement in the UK. This is a total figure for jobs, apprenticeships and traineeships. That is about 340 people per annum, a tiny number compared to the size of the UK labour market. There is no evidence that they are taking jobs from British young people. They are filling vacancies for which employers have not been able to find suitable applicants in the UK. And while one person getting a job means someone else does not get that specific vacancy, it does not deprive them of employment opportunities in general. Every employed person produces extra wealth and spends their own income, increasing the size of the economy and often having a net job creation effect. The majority of candidates had higher or secondary education qualifications.

It is true that fewer Brits have so far found placements via the scheme. But there is no reason why, with more publicity among young unemployed British people, that number cannot increase in the future. On the EURES portal alone (which is different from the Your First EURES Job pilot scheme) there are currently some 1.6 million unfilled jobs across the EU – one sixth of them in the UK and about half a million in Germany for example – and there are 5.6 million [1] unemployed Europeans aged between 15-24 (roughly double the rate of the population in general), including 730 000 in the UK [2].

Helping young people to overcome the challenges of seeking a job across borders can be a boost both to them individually and to the economies of the receiving countries.

EU funding is also helping British young people find jobs in the UK. The European Social Fund (ESF) funds successful projects all over the UK and has in England alone helped over 680,000 Brits to find employment since 2007. In addition, the Commission will invest a total of £145 million from the Youth Employment Initiative in the UK to help young people who are not in education, employment or training.

Finally, the article correctly states that under the scheme young Europeans who are shortlisted for a Your First EURES Job placement are eligible for financial support. But this support is not automatic – it has to correspond to eligibility rules and be approved. Secondly, it covers only part of the cost incurred by young people or employers for an initial interview or for relocation before the first salary.

[1] figures by Eurostat
[2] ONS data, Mar-May 2015

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