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April 3, 2023

MEPs Want to Make It Easier for Third-Country Citizens to

The Members of the European Parliament part of the Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) have voted in support of a draft text which foresees changes to the 2003 Directive EU-long term resident status, which would make it easier for non-EU nationals to obtain the status.

In spite of the 16 abstentions, and 13 votes against, the report has been adopted with 36 votes pro, and a decision to open negotiations with the EU ministers on the final form of the law is expected to be taken during the upcoming European Parliament plenary session of April, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

According to a statement of the LIBE Committee issued following the meeting on March 28, the foreseen changes would, amongst others make it easier for foreign residents in the bloc to move from one EU country to another.

Under the new rules, holders of EU long-term resident status will be able to move to a second Member State for work or study purposes without additional requirements (such as labour market checks or integration requirements),” the statement explains.

At the same time, it points out that if the new changes are approved, the period someone is obliged to be legally resident in a Member State in order to obtain EU long-term status will be shortened from five to only three years.

The LIBE Committee has also shown its support for the plans to include periods of legal residence in different Member States, as well as to take into account the time spent in the EU for purposes like seasonal work, study periods or vocational training, and even temporary protections, when calculating a person’s complete period of stay in the EU.

Other simplifications foreseen by the draft law are as follows:

  • Processing applications for long-term residence within 60 days at most
  • Free language courses should be offered to those who are required to speak a language up to A2 level
  • Criteria for adequate resources and health insurance should be simplified and clarified
  • Automatic long-term residence status should be granted to dependent children of persons already holding such a permit

Commenting on the adoption of the text, German rapporteur Damian Boeselager said that the speedy ageing of the European population has led to shortages in skills, and thus may soon affect the bloc’s economic growth.

To better attract and retain talented workers at all skill levels, we propose a portable EU long-term resident status with the right to move freely across Europe for work or studies. This right will allow migrants to travel and seek opportunities across Europe and fill in labour shortages where needed. We also propose to make the permit more accessible, by reducing the years of stay required from five to three years,” he pointed out.

The only category excluded from benefiting from the facilitations that arise from the amended law on EU long-term resident status are those who hold a residence permit solely on the basis of an investment scheme in any of the Member States.

Now, if the EU Parliament supports the changes in the plenary session set to be held during April 17 and 20, the talks for the final adoption of the updated law may begin once the Council adopts its own negotiating position.

This is just one of the many recent changes that the EU authorities have taken in order to facilitate the procedures of coming to the EU and living there.

Last week, the MEPs have agreed on a draft legislation that updates the way single work and residence permits for third-country nationals are issued. Amongst others the changes establish that there should be a single administrative procedure in the EU, for the issuance of work and residence permits for non-EU nationals.

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