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Sunday, January 22, 2012

EU Single Permit Directive

Now this is very interesting.  On December 11 of last year the European Parliament adopted a new directive that would standardize immigration procedures to create a single permit for Non-EU nationals to reside and work in the territory of a member state.  This directive also grants Third-country nationals rights at the EU level to working conditions very similar to rights now enjoyed by EU nationals.  This MPG article says that the directive will:
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.

Third-country nationals will also be granted treatment equal with that of EU nationals in matters concerning pay and dismissal, health and safety at work, the right to join trade unions, and access to public goods and services.
In addition to equal treatment, Non-EU nationals will be guaranteed their pensions if they move back to their home countries at exactly the same rates and conditions granted to EU nationals in the host country.

Concerning the "single permit," Europa says that this directive will create a single residence and work permit for all EU member states with:

•a single application procedure for this permit

•the rights attached to this permit

However, member-states will still be able to decide the  conditions under which a residency or work permit is granted or renewed.
There are a few categories of migrants that are not covered by this directive:  long-term EU residents (like me), inter-company transfers, seasonal workers and refugees. 
Still, this is quite an extension of migrant rights.  The member-states, however, did vote for it and once the directive is published in the Official EU Journal, they will have two years to change their national laws to conform to it.
I thnk this clearly demonstrates that EU member-states are committed to creating a common European immigration policy.  Something they have been working on since 2005.  As I said before, the EU moves slowly but, like a glacier, it is a powerful, nearly unstoppable, force once it gets a bit of momentum.

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