"EU politics on labour migration: Inclusion versus admission," Cambridge Review of International Affairs, 28(1), 536-553.
Two European Union (EU) directives on labour migration were adopted in 2009 and 2011. The EU scheme to attract highly qualified migrants, the so-called ‘Blue Card’ directive of 2009, allows member states broad flexibility in implementation. In contrast, the directive on a single permit for migrant workers and their rights of 2011 is far less flexible. It does significantly reduce the scope for derogations at a national level to a minimum. How can this variance in output be explained? Institutional rules are shown to be a key factor. The involvement of the European Parliament as co-legislator alongside the Council limited member states’ influence on legal outputs. The comparison of policy outputs between the two cases points to differences in actor orientations: rather than seeking to increase labour migration into the EU by defining expansive admission conditions, the common EU policy seeks to include migrant workers by defining their rights.