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EU Council Proposes Streamlined & Fairer Legal Migration Rules for Non-EU Workers

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Legal migration to the European Union for work purposes is set to become more streamlined and effective as the EU Council settles on its negotiating position for the Review of the Single Permit Directive.

According to the Council, the revised rules are aimed at boosting the international recruitment of talent and providing equal treatment for workers from non-EU countries, thus reducing labour exploitation, reports.

Commenting on the position of the Council to update the EU law that deals with legal migration to the labour market of the bloc, the Swedish Migration Minister, Maria Malmer Stenergard, said that a smooth application process is crucial.

She further stressed that the EU companies should be able to employ non-EU workers under facilitated rules when dealing with labour shortages.

“When labour shortages slow down our companies and prevent them from growing and innovating, they should be able to hire foreign professionals more easily. A predictable and smooth application process is paramount, and this is what the single permit law we agreed on today guarantees,” the statement of Stenergard reads.

As the Council explains, the Single Permit Directive deals with the admission of nationals of third countries to reside as well as work in the EU.

Moreover, the Single Permit Directive establishes the application process for the countries of the EU to issue this type of permit and sets out common rights for the workers. However, the Member States still have the final decision about how many workers from third countries they want to admit to their labour market.

Under the position of the Council, workers from non-EU countries can submit their application for the permit from either a third country or from within the EU. Once the single permit is approved by a Member State, the document will serve as both a residence permit and a work permit for the applicant.

In order to ensure timely decision-making, the Council has proposed that the Member States make a decision on a single permit application within four months.

“This period also covers – according to the Council position – the time needed to check the labour market situation before a decision on the single permit is adopted,” the Council added.

In addition to the above-mentioned, the Council also aims to enhance the protection of workers from third countries by permitting them to change their employers, provided that they notify or apply to the competent authorities.

In case of unemployment, these workers will be allowed to remain in the territory of Member States for up to two months without losing their residency status.

On the basis of this position, the Council will now be able to enter into negotiations with the Parliament on the EU and agree on a final text.

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