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Legal migration, like the Single Permit Directive, is essential for a comprehensive EU migration policy


13 Mar 2024



The European Parliament today adopted revised rules of the Single Permit Directive that will improve the rights of workers coming from outside the EU. The Socialists and Democrats led the negotiations on revising single permit rules to demonstrate the benefits of legal pathways and regular migration.

For the S&D Group, attracting migrant workers from outside the EU, through fair and legal instruments, is necessary for the EU’s response to demographic change and labour market shortages in crucial sectors and brings positive impacts to our societies. 

The revision of the Single Permit Directive was adopted today with a huge majority, with only the far-right political groups, the ECR and the ID Groups, voting against the new rules. The plenary vote follows a political agreement reached between the co-legislators under the Spanish Presidency in December 2023.

Javier Moreno Sánchez, S&D MEP and rapporteur on the Single Permit Directive, said:

“Legal migration instruments, like the Single Permit Directive, offer a win-win situation and they have a crucial role to play in promoting safe and regular migration to the EU.

“The extreme right feed off fear and hatred towards migrants and this damages essential progress on regular migration. Regular migration is the best tool to combat irregular immigration and human traffickers. Legal migration is both necessary and positive. Necessary because demographic trends clearly show that the population of the European Union is shrinking and ageing rapidly. And it is positive because migrants represent a clear economic, social and cultural enrichment for our societies. 

“In the revised rules, we have managed to introduce a simpler and faster procedure for people acquiring this single permit and we have ensured equal treatment of these migrants vis-à-vis EU workers by strengthening their rights, improving their protection against abuse and helping them access housing. Now we need to give these rules the public promotion and visibility they deserve in both the EU and in the countries of origin to make them a success.”

Agnes Jongerius, S&D MEP and spokesperson for the employment and social affairs committee, said:

“The revision of the Single Permit Directive is about protecting workers who are poorly paid and treated unfairly within the labour market because of their status as third country workers. With a proper system of work permits and residence permits, we are trying to rectify the unfair situation that far too many workers find themselves in. As legal migration becomes increasingly important, we need to dismantle the class system of workers that undermines the rights of third country workers and that makes them vulnerable to abuse and exploitation. It is now up to the member states to implement and enforce the fairer rules that we are adopting today. Third country workers should be explicitly given the same rights as EU workers.”


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