The World Bank together with the Institute for Structural Research (IBS) and the Centre of Migration Research (OBM) had a pleasure to organise an international conference to launch the latest World Bank Economic Update for Europe and Central Asia (ECA) titled “Migration and Mobility in the Europe and Central Asia Region” (read the report). The report was presented by Hans Timmer – Chief Economist of the World Bank’s ECA region. Carlos Piñerúa, the Country Manager for Poland and the Baltic States (World Bank), prepared an introduction, and comments were given after the presentation by Piotr Lewandowski of IBS and Paweł Kaczmarczyk of OBM.
Hans Timmer presented the current knowledge on immigration patterns among ECA countries. There is a growing number of high-skilled immigrants and more international students at universities than before. Also, temporary migration is now more common than at the beginning of 2000s. These outcomes coincide with dynamic changes in the labour markets induced by new technologies, the growing temporary employment, and rising inequalities among the younger cohorts. Moreover, there is a growing concern about refugees and terrorism across the ECA countries, which might pose a challenge for the integration of migrants. According to Hans Timmer, governments should focus on facilitating the flexibility of moving back and forth between countries and introduce policies that will help both migrants and non-migrants with the changing realities of the labour markets.
Paweł Kaczmarczyk talked about some further challenges regarding immigration, including attitudes toward the migrants and integration issues. His comment ended with a list of open questions suggesting that further knowledge is needed on the patterns of migration. Piotr Lewandowski talked about the importance of economic insecurity in shaping attitudes towards migrants, and the role of technology in the reshaping of the labour markets. His comment ended with questions on the dynamics of job creation and tertiary attainment in ECA, as well as on the role of technology and migration in mitigating the challenges of population ageing.
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