Seasonal Worker Programs in Europe: Lessons Learned and Ways Forward

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Across Europe, employers with seasonal labor needs in sectors such as agriculture, hospitality, and tourism often rely on hiring workers from other countries. Some, such as Germany, source these workers from other EU Member States, especially in Eastern and Central Europe. Others rely on programs that recruit seasonal workers from non-EU countries such as Morocco. While low-skilled workers generally have limited opportunities to legally migrate to the European Union, seasonal migration forms an important exception.

Designing and implementing seasonal worker programs that are responsive to labor market needs but also prioritize the well-being of seasonal workers and deter overstays remain challenging. Likewise, while studies point to the potential development contributions of seasonal migration for origin countries, policymakers can struggle to translate this potential into practice.

As the European Union prepares to review the implementation of its Seasonal Workers Directive, as well as countries such as the United Kingdom continue to explore new approaches to selecting seasonal workers, this webinar features findings from a policy brief, Seasonal Worker Programs in Europe: Promising Practices and Ongoing Challenges. On this webinar MPI Policy Analyst Kate Hooper was joined Concordia CEO Stephanie Maurel and Jan Schneider, Head of the Research Unit at the Expert Council of German Foundations on Integration and Migration (SVR), for a discussion recent trends in European seasonal migration programmes and best practices.

This webinar is part of a project by MPI Europe and the Expert Council’s Research Unit on mobility options to Europe for those not in need of protection, supported by the Mercator Foundation.

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