Intra-EU labour mobility : latest facts and figures


The EU Commission has published its latest statistical reports on social security coordination and intra-EU labour mobility. The main findings in these reports are summarized below (incl. link to the full text of the reports).

The EU rules on social security coordination protect the social security rights of mobile citizens.

The main principle is that persons are subject to the legislation of a single Member State only. In case of employment the legislation of the Member State where the activity is carried out usually applies. However, in some specific situations, other criteria apply. Such situations include 1) employed persons who are employed by an employer which normally carries out its activities in a Member State and who are posted by that employer to another Member State to perform work on its behalf (Article 12(1) of the EU Regulation), 2) persons who normally pursue an activity as a self-employed person in a Member State who go to pursue a similar activity in another Member State (Article 12(2) of the EU Regulation) ; and 3) persons who pursue an activity as an employed/self-employed person in two or more Member States (Article 13 of the EU Regulation).

In case of Article 12 of the EU Regulation the social security legislation of the Member State of origin continues to apply for up to 24 months (in some case this period can be extended). In case of Article 13 of the EU Regulation, special rules for persons who are normally employed, self-employed or both employed and self-employed in two or more Member States are laid down to ensure that the social security legislation of only one Member State is applicable.

In order to prove that a person is subject to a social security system a so-called ‘Portable Document A1 (PD A1)’ is issued by the Member State whose legislation remains applicable. This certificate concerns the social security legislation which applies to a person and confirms that this person has no obligations to pay contributions in another Member State. A PD A1 is not only issued to persons active under Article 12 of the EU Regulation but also to several other mobile workers, such as persons who pursue an activity in two or more Member States.

The EU Commission’s statistical reports show that around half of all EU movers reside in either Germany or the UK and a further quarter reside in Spain, Italy or France. Romania, Poland, Italy, Portugal and Bulgaria remained the five most important sending countries.

The main sectors of employment for EU movers remain manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade, construction and accommodation and food services. Significant gains of employed movers could be found in the IT sector (+ 14 %).

Around 36 % of active EU movers have high education levels, 40 % medium and 23 % lower education levels.

The two main issuing Member States of PDs A1 were Poland and Germany. Some 36 % of the total number of PDs A1 were issued by these two Member States. While Poland mainly issues PDs A1 according to Article 13, Germany mainly issues PDs A1 according to Article 12. France provides the fifth highest number of PDs A1 according to Article 12, but hardly any PDs A1 according to Article 13. The same goes for Italy.

Most persons covered by Article 12 provided services in Germany and France, and to a lesser extent in Belgium, the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland. The main flow of persons covered by Article 12 goes from Poland to Germany.

A copy of the full reports can be found here :