• Member States to Implement Combined Work and Residence Permits for Local Hires
  • August 26, 2013
  • Law Firm: Fragomen Del Rey Bernsen Loewy LLP - New York Office
  • European Union member states are required by an EU directive to adopt a single combined work and residence permit system for locally hired third-country national workers by December 25, 2013. Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom are not required to implement the directive. Affected countries must adopt a single permit system with a unified application process, which may mean significant procedural reforms in many EU states.

    Though they are free to do so, EU states are not required by the directive to implement a single permit system for intracompany transferees, workers staying for less than six months, long-term residents, seasonal workers or au pairs. However, the EU is currently considering a similar proposed directive that would apply to intracompany transferees.

    The directive gives member states some latitude to determine how the program will be incorporated into their domestic immigration systems. As a result, requirements and application procedures may differ across member states.

    Fragomen is following the directive’s implementation across the European Union and will provide individual country updates as they become available. What follows is a general summary of the single permit directive’s requirements.

    A Single Application Process

    The directive requires member states to implement a single application procedure for initial, amended and renewal permit applications. Member states must designate a competent authority to accept and adjudicate applications for the single permit. The adjudication of applications must constitute a single administrative act. Member states will remain free to require separate labor market testing requirements.

    Applications must be adjudicated within four months of a complete submission, though this time limit may be extended in exceptional circumstances based on the complexity of an application. EU states will be free to determine the consequences of untimely adjudications, however, and can automatically deny applications not adjudicated in four months.

    EU states are free to determine whether applications for their single permit will be submitted directly by third-country nationals or through their employers. EU states are free to determine whether applications will be submitted from abroad or in country.

    EU states are allowed to retain separate visa application procedures for the initial entry of third-country nationals.

    A Single Permit

    The single permit must operate as both residence and work authorization. The permit must be in a card format and contain a variety of security and biometric features, such as the holder’s fingerprints and a digital photograph. The permits may include additional information related to the holder’s employment relationship, such as the employer’s name and address, place and type of work, working hours, and/or remuneration.

    Other than the single permit, member states may not require any additional permits as proof of work authorization.

    Holders of single permits will be entitled to freely access and reside in any part of the EU state that issued their permit, though they will only be allowed to work at the location and for the employer specified in their permit. Single permit holders will generally be entitled to the same rights as EU nationals with regard to working conditions, labor organization, education and vocational training, recognition of diplomas and degrees, and tax benefits.

    Impact on Employers

    The single permit directive was designed to simplify and harmonize the rules currently applicable in EU states, and create a more efficient procedure both for third-country nationals and their employers.