What has happened? At a meeting of the Committee of Permanent Representatives of the Council of the EU, EU member states agreed on their negotiating mandates to update the EU Long-Term Residents Directive. This Directive sets out the conditions under which third-country nationals can obtain long-term EU resident status.
How does it work? In order to obtain EU long-term resident status, third-country nationals have to legally and continuously reside in a member state for at least five years. This EU status exists alongside national long-term residency programs.
The requirements. According to the position of the Council, third-country nationals may accumulate a residence period of up to two years in other Member States in order to meet the five-year residence period requirement. However, in the event that the applicant was resident in another Member State, the Council has decided to accept only certain types of legal residence permits, for example for holders of EU Blue Cards or residence permits issued for the purpose of highly skilled employment.
In order for applicants to qualify for long-term resident status, certain conditions will apply. For example, third-country applicants must provide evidence of stable and regular resources sufficient to support themselves and their family members, as well as health insurance. Member States may also require third-country nationals to comply with integration conditions.
Long-term resident status is permanent. However, it can be revoked in certain cases, for example if the person has not had their main place of residence in the EU for a certain period of time.
Mobility within the EU. Unlike national residence systems, EU long-term resident status gives status holders the opportunity to move and live in other EU countries, for example, to work or study. This right to mobility within the EU is not an automatic right, but is subject to a number of conditions. Such a condition is that Member States may assess the situation in their national labor markets in the event that a long-term EU resident moves to their country from another EU Member State for work.
Equal treatment with EU nationals. Long-term residents of the EU enjoy the same treatment as citizens in terms of access to employment and self-employment, education and vocational training and tax benefits. There are a number of conditions, such as the requirement that residence permit holders reside within the territory of the member state concerned.
Context. According to Eurostat, in 2020 the total number of third-country nationals legally residing in the EU was 23 million. This is 5.1% of the entire EU population. Of these 23 million, more than 10 million third-country nationals had long-term or permanent residence permits.
What now? The proposal amends the 2003 EU Directive on the status of long-term resident third-country nationals. Some of the shortcomings that the update tries to remedy are that EU long-term resident status is under-used, that the conditions under which applicants may acquire this status are too complex and that there are numerous barriers to exercising intra-EU mobility rights.
On the basis of the negotiation mandate agreed, the Council can enter into interinstitutional talks with the European Parliament to conclude a final legal text.
Source: Council of the European Union