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A common set of rights for foreign workers

Third country migrants working legally within the EU should enjoy certain comparable rights to those of EU nationals under a new "single permit" directive agreed by Parliament and Council and backed by the Civil Liberties and Employment committees.

The "single permit" directive – which complements other measures on legal migration – is designed to facilitate such migration where it meets the needs of the EU labour market.

The proposed directive would simplify administrative requirements for third-country nationals by enabling them to obtain work and residence permits via a single procedure and 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.

Member States would have four months within which to decide on a single permit application. These rules do not affect EU countries' power to decide whether or not to admit non-EU workers or how many to admit.

The agreed rules would apply to non-EU nationals who wish to reside and work in a Member State, or who already legally reside or work in a Member State. The new law would not cover long-term residents, refugees and posted workers (who are already subject to other EU rules), seasonal workers or intra-company transferees (who will be covered by other EU directives). Au pairs and seafarers sailing under the flag of a Member State are also excluded.

Parliament as a whole is to put the agreed text to a vote in the next plenary session. Member States will have two years in which to transpose the directive into their national laws.



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