Perspectives on labour mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region

Mobility trends between the Baltic and Nordic states and different national policy approaches to the increased mobility in the macro-region.

This publication is one outcome of a project on labour mobility between the Nordic-Baltic countries: “Enhanced Nordic-Baltic co-operation on challenges of labour mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region” that the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Office in Lithuania led during 2014-2016 in co-operation with the the Nordic Council of Ministers’ Offices in Estonia and Latvia, and Nordregio in Sweden. The overall objective of the project was to facilitate understanding and strengthen co-operation within the Nordic-Baltic region on labour mobility and demographic development across Nordic and Baltic municipalities and regions.

While the main interest in this publication as well as in the project behind it has been on labour mobility —with labour mobility being understood as cross-border movement of workers within the Nordic-Baltic region—this distinction of people moving for job purposes solely is, both in statistics and policies, not easily distinguished from those moving for other reasons,such as family reunification, opportunities to study abroad, etc. These categories are also fluid, since the prime reason for living away from one’s country of birth may change over time or even overlap with others from the outset. Another issue is that not all movements between two Member States are registered. People moving for a shorter time than the national requirements for registration in the population data bases are not included, nor are those working on a temporary basis in another country. A previous Nordic study on labour migration to the Nordic countries from the new Member States during the period 2004-2011 estimates that when including workers on temporary stay, the numbers should be almost doubled (Friberg & Eldring, 2013). Therefore, the presented data on Baltic migrants is to provide an overview of the trends of mobility in the Nordic-Baltic region rather than exact figures on the extent of labour mobility.