The European Parliament on Tuesday passed a new rule giving migrants from abroad living in the European Union the ability to obtain work and residence permits in a single procedure.

Non-EU migrants legally living in the region will enjoy the same working conditions, social security and access to public services as EU nationals.

The so-called “single permit directive” was adopted by the Civil Liberties and Employment Committees of the European Parliament on Dec. 5.

“This is an important step in facilitating legal migration, as well as in ensuring rights for migrants who are legally working and contributing to the cultural richness of our societies and the strength of our economy,” said Cecilia Malmström, European Commissioner responsible for Home Affairs.

“This is also promising in view of future legislation, including the Directives on seasonal workers and Intra-corporate transferees,” she added.


Countries within the EU are given four months to decide on single permit applications; however the newly adopted regulation will not require member states to admit non-EU workers or a set number of them into their countries.

The new rule only applies to non-EU nationals who want to live and work in an EU state, and foreign workers who are already living in a member state. The new legislation will not cover long-term residents, refugees, posted workers, seasonal workers, intra-company transferees, au pairs and seafarers.