EU updates rules for long-term resident status

November 24, 2023
At a meeting of the Council's Committee of Permanent Representatives, EU Member States agreed on a negotiating task to update the EU directive on long-term residents. This Directive sets out the conditions under which a third country national may obtain long-term residence status in her EU. To obtain EU long-term residence status, a third-country national must reside legally and continuously in a Member State for at least five years. This EU status exists alongside national long-stay regulations.

Acquiring long-term resident status

According to the Council position, third-country nationals may accumulate up to two years of residence in another Member State to meet the five-year residence requirement. However, if the applicant resides in another Member State, the Council may apply for certain types of legal residence, such as EU Blue Card holders or residence permits issued for the purpose of highly skilled employment. We decided to accept only permission. Certain requirements apply to applicants in order to obtain long-term residence status. For example, applicants from third countries must prove that they have a stable regular income and health insurance sufficient to support themselves and their families. Member States can also require third-country nationals to comply with integration requirements. Long-term residence status is permanent residence. However, it may be withdrawn in certain cases, such as if you have not had your main residence in the EU for a certain period of time.

Intra-EU mobility rights

Unlike national residence systems, EU long-term resident status grants status holders the possibility to move and reside in other EU countries, for instance for work or studies. This right to intra-EU mobility is not an automatic right but is subject to a number of conditions. Such a condition is that member states may assess the situation of their national labour markets in case an EU long-term 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 nationals in terms of access to employment and self-employment, education and training, and tax benefits. There are a number of requirements, including the requirement that the residence permit holder resides on the territory of the Member State concerned.

Background and next steps

According to Eurostat, the total number of third-country nationals legally residing in the EU in 2020 was 23 million. This corresponds to 5.1% of the EU population. Of these 23 million, more than 10 million were third-country nationals holding long-term residence permits or permanent residence permits. This proposal amends her 2003 EU Directive on the long-term resident status of third-country nationals. The shortcomings that this update seeks to address include the underutilization of long-term residence status in the EU, the complexity of the conditions under which applicants can obtain this status, and the numerous obstacles to exercising the right of movement within the EU. For example, On the basis of the negotiating mandate agreed today, the Council can initiate inter-institutional discussions with the European Parliament to adopt a final legal instrument.

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