Employment and pensions: Draft immigration Convention

United Kingdom
Draft immigration Convention

The Commission has tabled a draft Convention that would grant the same rights enjoyed by EU citizens to those from non-EU countries living long-term in the EU.

These minimum rights include access to work, education and housing, and the right to join trade unions. But the Convention, which has to be adopted unanimously, would not cover asylum seekers or refugees granted temporary protection under the Geneva Convention.

The draft Convention applies to third country (non-EU) nationals wanting to stay for more than 3 months in a Member State. It will be possible for such nationals to work if a vacancy in a Member State cannot be filled quickly by an EU national or a national of a third country already resident in that Member State for a long period. Seasonal workers could work for up to six months, but would then have to return to their home country.

Working on a self-employed basis would be possible if the person has adequate resources and if the business would have a positive impact on the labour market. The applicant would be entitled to a residence permit, renewable every two years.

Non EU-nationals would have access to studies and vocational training courses and be entitled to reside in the relevant Member State for the duration of the course. Those wishing to remain afterwards would have to return to their home country and submit another application. Trainees in company placements, pensioners, retired persons, artists and writers would be able to obtain a residence permit, renewable annually, if they can support themselves financially and are covered by social security.

In some circumstances, there would be a right to have other family members join the non-EU nationals and reside in the Member State in question. However, spouses and children would have to wait six months before beginning work there.