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Liberals support legal migrant workers but insist on a single residence permit


15 Dec 2010


Social Europe & Jobs

In a vote today in the European Parliament a draft first reading deal with Council was rejected because it did not match our expectations of a genuine simplified arrangement for third country nationals seeking residence or work on the territory of the European Union.

Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE group leader, commented after the vote:
"The Liberal and Democrat group in the European Parliament strongly supports the idea of a single permit for third country nationals who wish to reside or work in a Member State of the Union."

"The Commission proposal would have provided for a simple, single application procedure but Council insisted that Member States could impose additional documents on applicants. This would make a mockery of the proposals to have a single permit and simplified application procedure."

Sophie In't Veld (D66, Netherlands), ALDE vice president of Justice and Civil Liberties committee said:
"Liberals are squarely behind the ambitious 1999 Tampere plan for a full fledged common European asylum and immigration policy. Europe urgently needs a coherent immigration policy if we want to maintain our economic lead in the world economy. But so far Member States only pay lip-service to regulating legal immigration and raising bureaucratic and protectionist barriers that make the Single Permit virtually meaningless.

We must now go back to the drawing board, and come up with better proposals. But unless the 27 Member States are willing to move, Europeans will lose and the best and brightest of this world will go elsewhere."

Editors note:

The draft directive aims at guaranteeing a common set of rights to be granted to all third-country workers legally residing in a Member State. The objective is to eliminate the «rights gap» regarding third-country workers as opposed to nationals concerning working conditions, health and safety in the workplace, education, vocational training, recognition of qualifications and social security, including health care. It constitutes one of a series of directives to develop a coherent and functional migration policy for the Union, along with measures such as the 'blue card' to welcome skilled workers from abroad.

The proposal does not address the admission conditions and the number of workers which remain the competence of the Member states.

ALDE had agreed on the exclusion of seasonal and posted workers from the scope of the directive as they are covered by other specific directives.
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