The EU has agreed to simplify employment rules for third-country nationals

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Non-EU nationals will be able to apply for a work and residence permit in one application.

What has happened

A preliminary agreement has been reached between the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament to update EU legislation to ensure that third-country nationals can apply for a work permit and a residence permit in one go.


 “This will give a boost to international recruitment of talent,” the EU Council said in a statement.

“In addition, more rights for third-country workers and their equal treatment compared to EU workers will reduce labour exploitation,” it said.


The Single permit directive sets out the application process for EU countries to issue this single permit and sets out common rights for third-country workers.

Individual EU countries have the final say on which and how many third-country workers they want to allow into their labor market.

A third country worker can apply from the territory of a third country or, according to an agreement reached between legislators, from within the EU if he or she is the holder of a valid residence permit.

When a Member State decides to issue a single permit, this decision will serve as both a residence permit and a work permit.

The Council of the EU and European Parliament have decided that the issuance of a single permit should be carried out within three months after receipt of the complete application.

This period also includes the time required to check the labor market situation before making a decision on a single permit. EU member states will then issue the necessary visa for initial entry into their territory.


The holders of the single permit will have the opportunity to change employers, subject to a notification to the competent authorities.

Member states may also require a minimum period of time during which the single permit holder is required to work for the first employer.

In the event of loss of employment, third-country workers are permitted to remain in the territory of a Member State as long as the total period of unemployment does not exceed three months during the validity of the single permit or six months after two years of the permit.

The background

The current single permit directive dates back to 2011. In April 2022, the European Commission proposed an update of the current legislation.

The proposal is part of the “Skills and Talents” package, which addresses EU shortcomings on legal migration and aims to attract the skills and talent the EU needs.

What's next

Following the December 20 approval, the text will now have to be formally adopted by both the Council of the EU and European Parliament.

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Source: The Sofia Globe

Photo by Tetiana SHYSHKINA on Unsplash

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Tags: Life abroad, Immigration, Work abroad

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