MEPs call for new EU rules on legal labour migration to respond to Europe’s demographic challenges and to effectively match immigrants’ skills with labour market needs.
The European Union should offer third-country nationals new avenues for legal migration, ensure decent working conditions and end exploitation, says a report adopted by the Civil Liberties Committee today with 50 votes to14 and 2 abstentions. This approach could generate considerable long-term positive gains for EU economies, say MEPs, who call on the Commission to submit by 31 January 2022 legislative proposals to facilitate and promote legal migration.
An EU pool, options for low-skilled workers and for entrepreneurs
MEPs recommend setting up an EU talent pool and a platform that matches applicants’ profiles to the needs of EU-based employers, an optional tool that member states could use if there are shortages in their workforce. Information about migrating legally to the EU for work could be disseminated through member states’ embassies or EU delegation offices abroad, MEPs say. MEPs call on the Commission to establish an ambitious admission scheme for low- and medium-skilled third country workers, also addressing the need to have skills and qualifications from outside the EU properly recognised.
Self-employed people and entrepreneurs should have the option to immigrate legally to the EU. MEPs call for a Union-wide admission scheme laying down conditions of entry and residence for those wanting to establish businesses and start-ups, and for highly mobile workers such as artists and cultural professionals. The Civil Liberties Committee asks the Commission to introduce a five-year multiple-entry visa for self-employed people and entrepreneurs (to enter the EU for up to 90 days per year).
Revision of existing legal migration legislation
MEPs stress that the current rules should be amended to facilitate intra-EU mobility and allow third-country nationals who are long-term residents in one member state to reside - on similar terms as EU citizens - permanently in another from the day their permit is issued. As a minimum, the number of years required to acquire an EU long-term residence permit should be reduced from five to three, they say.
Existing legislation should be amended to allow people to apply for a single permit from within the territory of a member state as well as from a third country. The entry visa procedure should be simplified so that people do not have to submit documents for a single permit twice, demands the Committee.
MEPs finally propose changing current rules to give seasonal workers three months to seek new employment after leaving their job, without having their permit revoked. The rules on sanctions and measures against employers of illegally staying third-country nationals should cover third-country nationals who are legal residents and address labour exploitation.
Abir Al-Sahlani (Renew, SE), rapporteur, said: “A strong and competitive Europe needs labour migration to properly address the demographic and economic challenges that the Union is facing. We need to make it easier for labour migrants to come to Europe and we need to tidy up the system”.
This legislative own initiative report is scheduled for debate and vote in the 22-25 November plenary session. To be adopted by the Parliament, it needs the backing of a majority of MEPs.