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Single permit directive for migrant workers

Single permit directive for migrant workers

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Third country migrants working legally within the EU will have comparable rights to those of EU nationals.

This would be in regards to the working conditions, social security and access to public services, under a new “single permit” directive agreed by Parliament and Council and backed by the Civil Liberties and Employment committees on Monday.

 The new law is also expected to cut red tape, by enabling foreign workers to obtain work and residence permits via a single procedure.

The “single permit” directive – which complements other measures on legal migration – is intended to make easy such migration where it meets the needs of the EU labour market.

The agreed rules would apply to non-EU nationals who wish to reside and work in a Member State, or who already legally reside or work in a Member State. The new law would not cover long-term residents, refugees and posted workers (who are already subject to other EU rules), seasonal workers or intra-company transferees (who will be covered by other EU directives).

Following the vote, rapporteur Véronique Mathieu (EPP, FR) commented: “This is the first report on legal migration to be adopted by co-decision. This directive is a first step towards a common European policy on economic migration.”

Mathieu added, “It will allow more effective action against illegal migration, which benefits mafia networks, and help to meet the labour needs that Europe will face in coming years.”

The new directive also recognises that all persons working legally in Europe must have the same rights as European workers. It will therefore also help to fight unfair competition for European workers.

The proposed directive is expected to simplify administrative requirements for third-country nationals by enabling them to obtain work and residence permits via a single procedure and grant them a standard set of rights comparable to those enjoyed by EU workers, such as decent basic working conditions, recognition of educational and professional qualifications and access to social security.

Member States would have four months within which to decide on a single permit application. These rules do not affect EU countries’ power to decide whether or not to admit non-EU workers or how many to admit.

The compromise text approved by the Civil Liberties Committee had already won the backing of the Employment Committee (associated committees).

Under the agreement, single permit holders would enjoy equal treatment with EU nationals as regards pay and dismissal, health and safety at work, the right to join trade unions, recognition of diplomas, access to public goods and services and social security.

Non-EU workers could also claim tax benefits under the directive if they are tax residents in the Member State concerned. Their families would be able to receive these benefits only if they live in the same EU country as the worker. However, Member States could restrict access to public services, such as public housing, to those foreign workers who have jobs.

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