EU: Single Permit Directive Adopted
On December 14, the EU Parliament approved the long-debated Single Permit Directive which will allow third-country workers from outside the European Union to apply more easily to live and work in member states. According to the European Commission, the Directive will ensure that non-EU workers legally residing in an EU country will enjoy a common set of rights similar to nationals, including access to pensions, social security and public services.
Proposed by the EC in 2007, the single permit system offers cross-border recognition of work permits (meaning that a migrant worker legally working in one member state can work in another without a new permit) and a single application procedure for residency and work permits.
The member states have two years to transpose the Directive into national legislation, during which time the ramifications will be ironed out. Exclusions to the Directive include long-term residents, refugees and posted workers (who are already subject to other EU rules), seasonal workers and intra-company transferees (who are covered by other EU directives). The single permit will apply to 24 countries. The UK, Denmark and Ireland have opted out of the legislation.