Parliament demands new EU rules to support legal labour migration 

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Plenary session 
 
 
  • A talent pool to match European employers with non EU-workers  
  • Specific admission scheme for low- and medium-skilled workers and entrepreneurs  
  • Facilitate intra-EU mobility of non-EU long-term residents and reduce bureaucracy  
MEPs call for an ambitious admission scheme for low- and medium-skilled third country workers.  

Proposals to ease legal labour migration to Europe are needed by the end of January 2022, to overcome the challenge of an ageing population and of skills shortages.

MEPs adopted a legislative initiative report on legal labour migration on Thursday, with 497 votes to 160 and 38 abstentions. In it, they support the creation of an EU talent pool to match non-EU applicants with prospective EU-based employers, to ease workforce shortages in member states and based on the existing EURES portal.

Parliament calls for an ambitious admission scheme for low- and medium-skilled third country workers, as well as a framework for recognition of their skills and qualifications. Legal migration into the EU by entrepreneurs should be facilitated with an EU-wide admission scheme for entry and residence for people wanting to establish businesses and start-ups, and for highly mobile workers such as artists and cultural professionals. MEPs want the Commission to create a five-year multiple-entry visa allowing for visits of up to 90 days annually.

Amending existing EU laws on legal migration

MEPs ask for a review of the rules in place for long-term resident third-country nationals to allow them to move to another member state, from the day their permit is issued, on similar terms to those that already apply to EU citizens. The number of years required to acquire an EU long-term residence permit should be reduced from five to three.

The report approved today also demands the simplification of application procedures, including for visas, in existing legislation on single permits. Doing so would allow for applications to be lodged both from within a member state -if the applicant has a valid residence permit - and from a third country.

Additionally, MEPs propose changing the current rules on seasonal workers, by allowing them to be unemployed for up to three months -in order to look for a new job- without having their existing permit revoked.

Quote

After the vote Abir Al-Sahlani (Renew, SE), rapporteur, said: “Europe is facing demographic and economic challenges. To manage these challenges and to make sure that Europe can be strong and competitive, we need labour migration. It’s a fact. We need to make it more attractive for labour migrants to come to Europe and we need to tidy up the system to make sure that the rules are being followed”.

Next steps

As established by the EP Rules of Procedure, the Commission has until 31 January 2022 to present proposals to facilitate and promote entry into and mobility within the EU for legally migrating third-country workers.