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Europeanization and the Negotiation of a New Labour Migration Policy in Germany

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The article focuses on the negotiation of a new labour migration policy in Germany in the years 2011 and 2012, and on the role that actors on both the regional and the European Union levels played in encouraging the introduction of a more open labour migration framework. Up until now, research has highlighted the German use of the European level for introducing more restrictive changes in migration policy. In line with these precedents, during the negotiation of a European policy for admitting highly-skilled migrants, Germany advocated a restrictive framework. However, at the transposition of the EU directive on highly-skilled migrants in national law, the German government used the directive as an opportunity to introduce a paradigm change in labour migration policies, establishing a significantly more open labour migration policy hitherto exclusively associated with Anglo-Saxon countries. The article will analyse the preconditions for this change, assessing the value of the goodness-of-fit approach for understanding processes of Europeanization.


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Correspondence to Dr. Barbara Laubenthal.

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  • Europeanization
  • labour migration
  • highly-skilled migration
  • European Union
  • federalism