Single permit for third-country & nationals to reside and work in the EU
This briefing is one in a series of implementation appraisals produced by the European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) on the operation of existing EU legislation in practice. Each briefing focuses on a specific EU law that is likely to be amended or reviewed, as envisaged in the European Commission’s annual work program. Implementation appraisals aim at providing a succinct overview of publicly available material on the implementation, application, and effectiveness to date of specific EU law, drawing on input from EU institutions and bodies, as well as external organizations. They are provided by the Ex-Post Evaluation Unit of the EPRS to assist parliamentary committees in their consideration of new European Commission proposals, once tabled.
Directive 2011/98/EU (the Single Permit Directive) on a single permit for third-country nationals (non-EU nationals) to reside and work in the European Union (EU) has two main objectives. The first is to facilitate the procedure for a third-country national to be admitted to work in an EU Member State, by introducing a single application procedure for a combined work and residence permit. The second is to ensure equal treatment between third-country workers and nationals of the permit- issuing Member State, by providing a common set of rights regarding working conditions, education and training, access to goods and services, and social security.
In 2019, the European Commission published its second implementation report on this directive and a fitness check on EU legal migration legislation evaluating the effectiveness, coherence, and grounds for improving the existing EU laws in the field. According to these, the single permit directive has failed to address some of the issues it proposed to solve. These problems relate, for example, to the definitions provided in the directive; its scope; the lack of necessary coordination between administrative authorities for its implementation; and some inconsistencies between this directive and other instruments of the EU legal migration framework. Seeking to address these problems, one of the Commission’s proposals under the 2020 new pact on migration and asylum is the revision of the single permit directive.
Directive 2011/98/EU on a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the EU (the Single Permit Directive) is a key instrument in EU immigration policy in the 25 Member States1 in which the directive applies. The gradual establishment of an area of freedom, security, and justice is set out in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), which provides for the adoption of measures in the fields of asylum, immigration, and protection of the rights of third-country nationals. The directive was adopted on 13 December 2011, and together with four other directives (Figure 1) defines the EU’s framework for legal labor migration framework.