Country experience: European Union member states 

7.44.            The European Union Labour Force Survey (EU-LFS) programme provides an example of the possible benefits (at the time of writing, unexploited) of cooperation at the regional level of producing labour migration or mode 4 statistics for mutual benefit, given that all member countries of the European Union and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) have coordinated reasonably well their labour force surveys.[1] An additional illustration is the European Working Conditions Survey,[2] which provides an overview of working conditions in Europe using different indicators for working conditions of both employees and the self-employed. The combination of the employment status and the demographic indicators, both included in the survey, is potentially useful for compiling mode 4 statistics.

Box 7.3 Sample questions for inclusion in a labour force survey module on mode 4

 The following questions could be included for sending countries:

(a) Did you work in a country other than your country of residence in the past period (e.g. year, months)?

(b) In the past year, were you employed in a country outside your country of residence?

(b) If so, in which country is your employer?

(c) Were you employed by an employment agency? 

The following subsequent questions would capture further information on contractual service suppliers (i.e., those who are self-employed or who are resident and employed in the compiling country, i.e., those who replied “No” to question B):

(a) In the context of your work, did you travel abroad in the past year?

(b) How long did you stay abroad?

(c) How many trips did your travel entail?

(d) Did you travel abroad to fulfil a service contract in the destination country:

(i) With a third-part client?

                      a. Was it a firm?

                      b. Was it a household?

(ii) With an affiliated firm? 

It may be of interest to obtain further data on services sellers or persons negotiating the establishment of a commercial presence:

(a) Did you travel abroad to negotiate a contract?

(b) Was it a service contract?

(c) Did you travel abroad to negotiate the establishment of an affiliate/branch? 

Some questions could be added to ascertain if an employee travelled abroad on his/her own or with colleagues:

(a) If you are an employee, did you travel with some of your colleagues?

(b) If so how many?

Compilers should pay attention to the issues of double counting, as well as the interpretation and extrapolation of information obtained for this question. A solution could be to design processing algorithms to avoid double- counting. 

For a self-employed person or employer, the following questions could be asked:

(a) Did you send some of your employees to fulfil a contract with a client abroad?

(b) If so, how many? 

For receiving countries, it may be useful to gather information for intracorporate transferees and self-employed migrants. The identification of the country of residence (of origin, or in last period) may be a first indication. If the individual comes from a foreign country, then the following questions would be useful:

(a) Did you come to work in an enterprise affiliated with your previous employer?

(b) Did you enter this country to develop a business?


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[1]  For more detailed information on the results, common practices, methods and definitions of the European Labour Force Survey, see the dedicated section on Eurostat's website from