A net inflow of migrants helped push the population of the European Union close to half a billion people in 2008.
On 12 December 2008, Switzerland became the 25th member of the Schengen zone.
The Irish Government is to consider the introduction of new visa requirements for visitors from 11 non-EU countries, a move which would reflect the possible stance of the UK authorities.
The EU Blue Card has been in the spotlight this week.It is expected that the Blue Card proposal will be voted upon in the European Council in early 2009.
Countries actively seeking workers from the Philippines to help counter skills shortages.