the revised EU legislation on non-EU migrant employees – Cyber Information


Professor Steve Friends, Royal Holloway College of

*Textual content up to date Dec 22 2023, so as to add a hyperlink to the agreed textual content of the Directive

Photograph credit score: Lasse Fuss, by way of Wikimedia

Overshadowed considerably by the settlement
on asylum laws, the EU Member States and the European Parliament have
additionally this week agreed on an modification to EU legislation on migrant non-EU employees, often known as the ‘single allow
Directive’. Not like the asylum deal, which (topic to seeing the authorized texts; I’ll
remark extra when they’re accessible) appears at first sight to be a discount in
requirements, the revised single allow Directive is a modest however helpful
enchancment in requirements relevant to migrant employees.


The present
single allow legislation dates again to 2011. It doesn’t regulate the numbers of
migrants coming from non-EU nations to hunt work in Member States (the
Treaties state that solely Member States can regulate that).  Nor does it regulate the substance of when non-EU
labour migrants are admitted (ie points resembling scarcity occupations, pay
thresholds or different standards for admission). Moderately it regulates two points:
the procedural points of making use of to be a migrant non-EU employee within the EU, and
the equal therapy of such migrant employees. (Observe that there are additionally EU legal guidelines
on particular teams of migrant employees, which regulate the main points of admission
of non-EU employees in additional element: the Blue
Card legislation on extremely expert employees; the seasonal
employees Directive; and the intra-corporate
transferees Directive. The EU legislation on admission of non-EU college students
and researchers can be related to educational employees and trainees). There’s restricted
CJEU case legislation on the 2011 Directive: all of it considerations equal therapy in
Italy. The UK, Eire and Denmark opted out of the legislation – though it has however
turn into relevant to UK residents who search to maneuver to the EU as labour migrants post-Brexit.

Believing that the legislation wanted updating
to streamline the admissions course of and strengthen equal therapy, the
Fee proposed
changing it with a brand new model in April 2022. (See additionally the influence
evaluation on the brand new proposal, and the 2019 health
examine and report
on implementation of the 2011 legislation) On the similar time, the Fee
proposed changing the EU legislation on long-term resident non-EU residents (see my
feedback on that proposal right here
and right here,
and on the Council’s place right here).
The latter proposal is taking longer to barter.

The European
Parliament and the Council
adopted their positions on the only allow proposal in spring of this yr,
and have now concluded their negotiations. Once more Eire and Denmark opted out, and the legislation can be
related to Brits who transfer to the EU. The revised legislation (the ‘2024 Directive’) will
doubtless be formally adopted within the spring of 2024, and Member States may have
two years to adapt their legislation to adjust to it. The next describes the
present legislation, whereas explaining how the 2024 model will change it; it additionally
signifies which Fee proposals for amendments have been rejected.

Scope of the only allow legislation

Along with non-EU residents
admitted for work, who’re lined by each the procedural and equal therapy
components of the Directive, the equal therapy a part of the Directive additionally applies
to non-EU residents who’re admitted for different causes, however who’re allowed
to work. Nevertheless, a number of teams of non-EU residents are excluded from its
scope, normally as a result of they’re topic to extra particular guidelines in different EU legislation:
non-EU members of the family of EU residents who’ve moved between Member States;
residents of nations which have a free motion treaty with the EU, and their
households; employees who’re posted to supply providers (the Fee’s proposal
to make clear whom this exception refers to was rejected); candidates or employees
who’re seasonal employees or intra-corporate transferees (the 2024 model will outline
these teams by reference to different EU legislation); au pairs (the Fee’s proposal
to outline them by reference to EU legislation was rejected); who’ve utilized for or
obtained non permanent safety (including a reference to EU legislation; on the place of
these fleeing the invasion of Ukraine, see right here;
the European Parliament’s modification to drop this exclusion failed); who’ve
utilized for or obtained refugee standing or subsidiary safety on the idea of
EU legislation; who’re EU long-term residents as outlined by EU legislation; who’ve utilized for
or been admitted as self-employed employees; whose expulsion is suspended (the
European Parliament tried to drop this exclusion too); or who’ve utilized for
or been admitted as seafarers.

Member States may additionally disapply
the procedural a part of the Directive (however not the equal therapy half) to
those that have been admitted for lower than six months (the European Parliament
tried, however failed, to chop this to 3 months), or who have been admitted to check;
and the procedural half doesn’t apply in any respect to these admitted on the idea of
a visa.

The largest change to the scope
within the 2024 model is that the equal therapy a part of the Directive will now
apply to the beneficiaries of nationwide safety (as distinct from
EU-harmonised asylum legislation), if that nationwide legislation permits them to work. Candidates
for nationwide safety are nonetheless absolutely excluded. This can be a compromise between
the Fee and European Parliament, which wished to drop this exclusion for
candidates for and people holding nationwide safety standing absolutely, and the
Council, which wished to retain it absolutely.

The only allow course of

The 2011 legislation gives {that a} single
allow is each a piece allow and a residence allow, issued on the idea of a
single utility. Both an employer or worker applies for it (or each, if
a Member State permits that). Purposes have to be made out of exterior the nation,
though Member States could permit purposes for many who are legally
current. The 2024 legislation will liberalise this, by at all times permitting in-country
purposes from non-EU residents who’re legally resident on the idea of a
residence allow; Member States could permit in-country purposes by
those that are in any other case legally current. (The Fee and European
Parliament wished to require Member States to contemplate in-country purposes
from the latter group, however permitting in-country purposes from holders of residence
permits was so far as the Council was prepared to go).

Member States should resolve on
single allow purposes inside 90 days, lower from 4 months underneath the
present legislation on the behest of the European Parliament. Additionally, the 2024 legislation will
streamline this additional by requiring that this time restrict additionally covers time to
examine the labour market (the place nationwide legislation gives for this). However the Fee’s
extra bold proposal (backed by the European Parliament) to streamline the
course of much more by making use of this time restrict additionally to the difficulty of a visa was
rebuffed by the Council. So was the European Parliament’s try to chop the
time restrict to 45 days in sure instances. It is going to nonetheless stay doable to increase
the deadline in distinctive instances.

The European Parliament’s try
to introduce a minimal interval of validity for single permits (two years for an
indefinite contract, in any other case the period of the contract) was not accepted
by the Council, so this situation stays regulated by nationwide legislation.

The present procedural rights to
know the explanations for a rejection of an utility or withdrawal of a single
allow, and to problem that call in courtroom, are retained. They’re strengthened
by including necessities to contemplate the person case and the precept of
proportionality, on the European Parliament’s behest. The provisions on entry
to info can be expanded, together with charges, authorized redress and employees’
organisations – these additions once more on the European Parliament’s behest. On
utility charges, it is going to now be specified that they have to not be extreme; the
European Parliament’s modification to specify that an employer couldn’t gather
the charge from the employee (the place the employer pays the charge) was accepted.

Employment rights

The present Directive gives
for primary rights to dwell within the nation and perform employment as soon as the
single allow has been issued. The Fee sought to go additional, and add two
additional rights of basic significance to the place of non-EU employees: the
proper to vary employer and the safety of standing within the occasion of unemployment.
In each instances, the Council sought to supply a lot much less enchancment and the European
Parliament sought to supply rather more; and in each instances, the tip outcome was a

Altering employer

At present, this situation (like
unemployment) is left to nationwide legislation. Subsequently it’s not correct to say that
the 2011 directive requires employees to stay with their present
employers; slightly the Directive doesn’t stand in the best way of most Member
insisting upon such a requirement (for the main points of which Member
States require this, see the influence evaluation).

The Fee proposed that
employees may change employer, topic solely to the choice for Member States to
require notification and a examine of the labour market scenario; this could possibly be
suspended for 30 days whereas Member States did checks. The Council place
supplied that Member States additionally may recheck the unique circumstances of
admission, examine a doable change of occupation, droop the job transfer for 90
days (not 30) and require a minimal interval with the primary employer (however no extra
than a yr), topic to an obligation to permit earlier employer adjustments in ‘distinctive’
instances. The European Parliament would have required notification however would solely
have allowed labour market checks in sure instances. The ultimate textual content of the 2024
directive permits for notification and labour market checks, with a forty five day
interval to do checks (with an distinctive 15 day extension), and the chance
for Member States to require not more than six months with the identical employer earlier than
trying to vary employer – topic to an obligation to let the employee
change employer earlier if the employer has severely breached the employment


The Fee proposed that the
employee may keep for 3 months of unemployment, and in the event that they discovered a brand new job
after they might keep for 30 days extra whereas Member States did checks. The
Council place lower that to 2 months over the whole validity of the allow.
The European Parliament model supplied for a 9 month interval, with a 12
month extension within the occasion of a ‘severe violation’ of the employee’s rights by
an employer. The compromise within the last textual content of the 2024 directive is three
months’ unemployment over the validity of the allow – rising to 6 months after
two years holding a single allow, though for intervals of unemployment above
three months Member States can require the employee to have enough sources
with out recourse to social help. Furthermore, if there are cheap
grounds to consider {that a} employee has suffered notably exploitative working
circumstances, the unemployment interval may be prolonged by 4 months.

Equal therapy

Initially, a reminder that as
famous above, the equal therapy provisions of the Directive have a wider scope,
making use of additionally to these admitted for different causes however allowed to work, and now to
be prolonged additionally to these with a type of nationwide safety.

There’s a lengthy record of equal
therapy rights, but additionally a protracted record of exceptions. The Fee proposed
that the doable derogation from equal therapy as regards housing be
narrowed in order that it utilized solely to public housing, and that these admitted on the
foundation of a visa have equal therapy as regards household advantages. The ultimate textual content
accepted the primary of these amendments, topic to qualifying wording (and an
clarification within the preamble, inter alia on the significance of employees having a
alternative to not should take housing tied to the employer), however rejected the
second (on the Council’s behest). There are additionally gildings on the work-related
equality rights.

Lastly, along with some
amendments to the obligations to supply info on the general public, there are
two wholly new provisions on dangerous employers: one on public sector monitoring and
checks, and the opposite on employees’ rights of particular person redress in opposition to them.  


It’s apparent that the Member
States within the Council have been prepared to just accept lots of the proposals from the
Fee, in addition to lots of these from the European Parliament. The social
democratic get together within the Parliament has taken
credit score for insisting on these amendments, and certainly it ought to be
congratulated if it had the primary position, as a result of the agreed legislation does enhance the
place of non-EU migrant employees. However we should always not overlook that as assiduously
as they defended migrant employees’ rights, the social democrats (and liberals)
have been concurrently reportedly throwing asylum seekers and refugees underneath the
bus within the asylum negotiations.

To recap, the primary adjustments to the
present legislation are: rights to vary employer and safety throughout unemployment;
an extension of private scope of the equal therapy guidelines (and their
certified extension to personal housing); monitoring of, and facilitation of
challenges in opposition to, dangerous employers; in-country purposes for all holders of
residence permits and a shorter deadline to resolve on purposes.

The details rejected by the
Council involved visas: together with the visa course of inside the deadline to
resolve on purposes; and equal therapy in household advantages for visa holders.
The principle successes of the Parliament (in addition to defending Fee proposals,
notably as regards adjustments of employer and unemployment) are the shorter
deadline to resolve on purposes, and an additional keep if victimised by a very
vile employer.   

Certainly, one placing characteristic of
the amendments is how a lot they goal to guard in opposition to dangerous employers – not solely
as regards that doable additional keep, but additionally as regards redress in opposition to them and
larger monitoring of them. The provisions on non-public housing, and likewise clearly
safety within the occasion of unemployment and the appropriate to vary employers, implicitly
assist to guard in opposition to exploitative employers too. A set of revisions on the legislation
on migrant employees that primarily considerations methods to shield them in opposition to predatory
employers could possibly be seen as an indication of late capitalism.

Whereas all the revised legislation formally
considerations immigration, most of it’s in impact concerning the relationship between employees
and their employers: solely the provisions on in-country purposes and
utility deadlines are immigration legislation within the purest sense. After all, any
legislation on migrant employees can solely be absolutely understood in context as a side of
labour markets; the scenario on the labour market will in flip be basic
in apply for any migrant employee who contemplates altering employer, or who’s
in search of a brand new job throughout unemployment. And the important thing factors left to nationwide
legislation (admission quotas, circumstances of admissions) are additionally strongly
affected by how labour markets function in apply. Leaving these points of
financial migration to nationwide legislation mirrors the points of employment
legislation as such that are left to nationwide legislation by the EU, with the intention to take account
of variations between Member States as regards the functioning of labour
markets and traditions of employment regulation.



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