EU Approves More Favourable Work & Stay Permit Rules for Non-EU Citizens

April 15, 2024
The Single Permit Directive has been revised, with approval from the EU Council, in an effort to draw in highly qualified labourers. Citizens of non-EU nations are entitled to a single permit under this directive, which allows them to enter the union and remain there while working. The 2011 approval of the prior regulation and the recent modification aim to address the challenges and complications associated with legal migration to the EU. In line with the update, eligible third-country nationals will now be subject to a shortened application procedure, and they will also enjoy strengthened rights that will allow them to change their employer and a limited period of unemployment.

What Is the Application Procedure for a Single Permit?

The application process for a single permit has been streamlined under the new directive, permitting quicker decisions. Nationals of non-EU countries can apply for a single permit for both the right to work and the right to stay in the EU from their home country. Those who already reside in the EU and hold a valid residence permit can apply for a single permit within the bloc without having to travel to their home country just to complete the application procedures. Once an EU member state approves the single permit, the document will serve as a work and residence permit, omitting the need for separate documents.

EU Member States Now Must Make Decisions on Issuing Permits Within 3 Months

In line with the new rules, a significant improvement is that member states will now have a stricter timeline for processing the single permit applications. EU Member States will have to make a decision on the permit within three months of having received the application. Similarly, in cases when the member states need to assess the need for foreign workers, the decision on the permit needs also to be made within three months. The time limit for issuing a decision can only be extended in some exceptional cases for a period of 30 days.

Non-EU Workers Are Allowed to Change Their Employer & Stay in the Bloc for a Limited Period if Unemployed

In addition to the above-mentioned, the revised directive allows single permit holders to change their employer, provided that they notify the authorities. However, despite being able to change the employer, the member state may require the non-EU national workers to work for a minimum period of time for their first employer and then change them. As for single permit holders who might become unemployed, they will now be permitted to remain in the territory of the member state for a limited period. The period is capped at three months during the time that the single permit is valid or six months after two years of holding the permit. Member states will have two years time to transpose the changes to their legislation.

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