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“Single application procedure” for legal immigrants in EU

The Directive establishing the process for authorising third-country nationals to reside and work is published.
Brussels seeks to ensure that citizens from third countries receive equal treatment regarding employment terms and conditions with respect to EU nationals. To this end, the EU has established a European Union-wide procedure for applying for a single permit authorising third-country nationals to reside and work in a Member State.

This procedure is set out in Directive 2011/98/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 13 December 2011, recently published in the Official Journal of the European Union. The Directive also establishes a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State.

Firstly, States will designate the competent authority to issue the single permit, which will adopt a decision on the application within four months from the date on which the application is lodged. However, this time limit may be extended in exceptional circumstances, linked to the complexity of the examination of the application.

The competent authority shall also determine whether applications for a single permit are to be made by the third-country national or by the employer hiring them, and whether the application is to be made in the Member State of destination or from a third country.
The Directive also establishes that the decision to issue, amend or renew the single permit shall constitute a single administrative act combining a residence permit and a work permit.

Moreover, Brussels also establishes a series of regulations governing the procedure for examining permit applications.

The Directive further states that Member States should indicate, not only on the single permit, but also on all the issued residence permits, the information relating to the permission to work, irrespective of the type of the permit or the residence title on the basis of which the third-country national has been admitted to the territory and has been given access to the labour market of that Member State.

Finally, the Directive rules that decisions by the competent national authority to reject applications or withdraw the single permit “should be duly reasoned”. Nonetheless, the Directive has no effect on the competence of Member States “to regulate the admission, including the volumes of admission, of third-country nationals for the purpose of work”.


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