The 'migration crisis' is easily one of the biggest storms the EU has had to weather over the past decade. It has brought to light the limits of cooperation between Member States, lifted the veil on the horrors faced by migrants seeking refuge, and become fertile ground for a divisive ‘us vs them’ rhetoric across Europe. But there is another side effect of this crisis. While some 80 million workers in Europe lack the proper qualification for the job they have been hired to do, discrimination towards migrants, even highly skilled ones, is depriving the labour market of a significant resource and solutions to a rapidly ageing society and skills shortages. “Discrimination is not only problematic in terms of fairness, but it also limits a society’s capacity to employ and attract human resources most effectively. It is a major barrier to growth,” explains Neli Demireva, Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Essex and coordinator of the GEMM project.
The GEMM project studied this barrier between 2015 and 2018. It collected field experiment data, analysed existing survey data and built its own understanding of real-life motivations behind migration decisions. Its objective: methodically fact-checking some of the most repeated myths around migrants’ role in society and how these impact the labour market.