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Centre of Migration Research

Marcin Wiatrów. 2021.



CMR Working Papers 124(182)


Contemporary developed countries try to balance between maximizing the economic benefits of migration and avoiding the negative consequences of migration. States operate in a situation where it is difficult to precisely define the "real" scale of the labour demand through migration and openly declare the goals to achieve. One of the instruments that respond well to this dilemma is the labour market test (LMT). The LMT is a procedure set to ensure that a foreigner is only hired when a local employee cannot be found. However, the common use of LMT is accompanied by the no less common belief that it is ineffective. Only partially the prevalence of LMT can be explained by the process of mutual learning or, as in the case of the EU, by the process of European integration. The benefits of the LMT are much more important, i.e. the possibility of clear articulation of the protection of the labour market, ensuring a high level of discretion, which allows for adaptation to a given situation and the possibility of "negotiating" between various actors. The possibility of not using the LMT plays an equally important role. The LMT has a different function depending on the migration, economic and political situation of a given country. Therefore an in-depth analysis at the level of an individual country plays a significant role in understanding it. On the example of Poland, it was shown what factors shaped the LMT, the importance of its exclusions and its practical functioning.


labour market test, labour migration, migration policy