EU single permit directive

EU single permit directive simplifies residence and work

The council of the European Union has approved a new EU Single Permit Directive that came into effect on May 20, easing the entry of third-country nationals (non-EU citizens) to work in Europe. This directive introduces a streamlined procedure for issuing residence and work permits, while also establishing rights of equal treatment between foreign workers and EU citizens.

The new regulation, published in the Official Journal of the European Union on April 30, applies to most of the residence and work permits issued in the EU for third-country nationals. According to the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security, and Migration, the directive introduces “a series of notable improvements” such as reducing deadlines and simplifying procedures. Additionally, it mandates that applications be processed within the territory of the member state, eliminating the need to leave the country to apply for a new permit, thereby reducing unintended irregularities.

Another significant change allows migrant workers to change employers without needing a new permit application, though member states may impose conditions such as notifying authorities, undergoing a second labour market assessment, or fulfilling a minimum employment period with the initial employer.

Moreover, third-country employees can remain unemployed for a specified period without immediate loss of their permit. Initially set at three months, this period extends to six months for permit holders of more than two years.

The directive also restricts member states from applying overly restrictive rules and enhances transparency in labour conditions, aiming to attract talent to the EU and address legal migration challenges.

What is the single permit?

The Single Permit covers both the right to work and reside in the European Union, simplifying the previously separate processes. It establishes a common set of rights for third-country workers, including the ability to change employers and maintain residence and work rights during periods of unemployment.

Implementation of the single permit directive

Although the directive took effect on May 20, member states have a two-year period to implement its guidelines, making full implementation expected by May 21, 2026.

The application process for the Single Permit will vary by member state, which will determine whether the application is filed by the worker or the employer. Applications can be submitted by workers residing outside the member state or those already residing with a valid residence permit.

Spain and the new directive

Spain, with its high standard of rights for migrant workers, anticipates minimal adjustments primarily focused on simplifying procedures, expanding rights during unemployment periods, and enhancing data collection for evaluating migration policies related to the Single Permit.

This new regulation represents a significant advancement in managing labour migration within the European Union, promoting greater efficiency and equity in the treatment of migrant workers. │


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