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Single EU Work & Residence Permit for Third-Country Citizens

The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament has reached an agreement on a bill to modernise the issuance of single work and residence permits for nationals of third countries.

The LIBE committee approved, with no abstentions, 47 votes in favour and 13 votes against, a report updating the 2011 Single permit directive, which among other things establishes that there should be a single administrative procedure in the EU for the issuance of work and residence permits for non-EU nationals.

Commenting on the forthcoming changes, Javier Moreno Sanchez, the rapporteur, stated that the procedure for obtaining a permit will be streamlined and sped up in order to make it more useful for businesses and workers, in accordance with the requirements of the labour markets in the Member States.

“Secondly, we guarantee equal treatment of workers from third countries as compared to national workers, protecting them from exploitation and other illegal situations, while facilitating their full integration in our societies,” he said.

The decision is made at a time when all EU Member States are actively recruiting foreign employees, especially in industries like as health care, information technology, agriculture, and construction. Several EU nations have already announced adjustments to their legislation governing foreign employers in an effort to get more third-country nationals to migrate to their territory and fill labour shortages.

According to a press release issued by the Committee after its March 23 meeting, the single permit legislation has been amended to include several modifications.

“MEPs amended the Commission’s proposal to include seasonal workers or with temporary protection status. EU member states would retain the power to determine how many third-country nationals can enter their territory for work,” the press release points out.

In addition, the MEPs have decided that decisions regarding applications for a single permit must be made within 90 days, as opposed to the present limit of four months.

In addition, the MEPs believe that the 90-day limit should be cut in half, to 45 days, in circumstances where the applicant has been selected through an EU talent partnership or already possesses a single permit from another EU nation.

“The single permit should be issued in paper format and be accessible in electronic format,” the LIBE Committee has agreed.

Those who are already settled and employed in the EU, but wish to switch employers, will be able to do so through a streamlined process. In the event that they become unemployed, they will be permitted to keep their permit for at least nine months while they look for work. The current period of permitted unemployment currently is as short as only three months.

Now, in order to ratify the bill, negotiations will begin with EU ministers, but they must first be approved by the European Parliament during its plenary session scheduled for April 17-20.

There are a number of additional options to go to the EU for employment, including with an EU Blue Card and various types of work visas issued by Member States.



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