Making Europe attractive for international talent

Create freedom of movement for EU long-term residents

It is forecasted that over the next 30 years, our active workforce in the EU will decrease by 50 million people. The resulting labour shortages and skills gaps have a damaging impact on Europe's competitiveness and economic prosperity. Europe needs to get better at attracting and retaining international talent at all skill levels.

The EU is currently revising the EU Long-term Residents Directive. This law grants certain rights to migrants who have been living and working in the EU for more than five years. This Directive, as it was adopted in 2003, is clearly underused and requires substantial legislative changes to reach its full potential and meet the objectives set.

Damian Boeselager has been appointed as Parliament's lead negotiator on this file. In Parliament's report,he proposes several changes to address the reality of the Union’s labour market. Key to his proposal is creating freedom of movement for EU long-term residents as this allows them to travel and seek opportunities across the EU, which can improve their prospects for integration, enhance the number and variety of opportunities they can take up, allow them to fill in labour shortages in Member States where there are needs, and help offset regional imbalances. This will make the EU a more attractive destination for international talent.

Proposed changes

Full mobility for long-term residents

Ensure effective intra-EU mobility rights for third-country nationals. Allow third-country nationals who received an EU long-term resident status in the first Member State to move freely to a second Member State and apply for an EU long-term resident status immediately or for as long as the EU permit is valid in the first Member State.


Shortened time to acquire the long-term residence permit

Allow third-country nationals to cumulate residence periods in different Member States and ensure that all periods of legal residence are fully taken into account. Reduce the period of residence required to acquire EU long-term resident status from five to three years.


Improve rights of long-term residents

Improving the rights of long-term residents will make the status more attractive. Approximate their rights to the rights of EU citizens.


Level playing field with national permits

Ensure a level playing field between the EU long-term residence permit and national permanent residence permits on procedures, equal treatment rights, and access to information. National permanent residence permits with more favourable provisions on safeguards, rights and conditions should grant the same provisions to EU long-term residents. Third country nationals should be able to hold a national permanent residence permit and EU long-term residence permit at the same time.


Make the permit available to more persons

Allow beneficiaries of temporary and other forms of protection status to apply for an EU long-term residence permit, as long as they fulfil the required conditions.


Improve rights of family members of long-term residents

Remove the pre-requisite on integration conditions and allow for swifter family reunification by shortening the decision time. Family members would be entitled to access any employment, including self-employed activities in the host Member State. Adopt facilitated measures on how family members and children in vulnerable situations can access autonomous residence permits.

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