• EU Lawmakers Approve Plan to Harmonize Immigration Rules for Intracompany Transferees
  • May 21, 2014
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • European lawmakers have adopted a directive that will harmonize immigration rules for intracompany transferees in most EU member states and facilitate the transfer of managers, specialists and graduate trainees both into and within the region. EU member states will have two and a half years to implement the directive into their domestic laws from the date it is published in the Official Journal of the European Union, which is expected in the coming weeks. The directive will not apply in Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom.

    Benefits of the New Permit

    Under the directive, EU states will create a new permit specifically annotated to reflect “intra-corporate transferee” (ICT) status. ICT permits will be valid for a maximum stay of three years for managers and specialists and one year for graduate trainees.

    In addition to permitting work in the EU state that initially grants the permit, the ICT permit will permit a transferee to work for entities of the same multinational group in other EU states for up to 90 days within a six-month period. For these intra-EU work stays, a member state may require, at a maximum, an ICT permit holder to submit a government notification before entering for employment in the member state’s territory. For intra-EU work stays exceeding 90 days, member states may require a separate ICT permit application.

    ICT permit holders will be permitted to work at third-party client sites of the multinational host company.

    Accompanying family members of ICT permit holders will benefit from eased access to local labor markets and should equally benefit from the directive’s the 90-day accommodation.

    Eligibility Criteria

    The directive will cover the temporary transfer of non-EU national managers, specialists and graduate trainees from an entity located outside the EU to an EU entity belonging to the same multinational group. The directive does not specify criteria for qualifying corporate relationships, but it contemplates a diverse range of possible business relationships.

    EU states will be permitted to set their own requirements for prior qualifying employment, provided that the requirement is between three to twelve months for managers and specialists and three to six months for graduate specialists. There will be no specific educational requirements for managers or specialists, but graduate trainees will be required to hold a university degree. Applications for the permits will not require labor market testing. Transferees must earn a salary that is at least equal to that of local workers in comparable positions.

    The directive anticipates that member states may create expedited application procedures for ICT permits.

    What the Directive Means for Employers

    The directive should do much to facilitate the movement of key workers for multinational companies. The impact will likely vary across EU member states, because member states will have considerable latitude to determine how to incorporate the permits into their domestic immigration systems. The adoption of the directive may lead to minor procedural changes in some countries, while in others it could lead to a substantial overhaul of a country’s immigration system.

    How Fragomen Can Assist

    Fragomen was actively engaged in pre-vote talks related to the directive and will further inform clients of any impact on national regulations, procedures and policies. Fragomen will work with governments in member states to communicate client concerns about potential domestic reforms.