The EU Parliament has announced its intention to ease movement around the bloc and the path to residency for non-EU residents. The rule changes could take place from as early as next year but can only happen if governments of member states agree.
1. Сurrent rules
At the moment, non-EU nationals must have been living legally in an EU country for at least five years (e.g. with a temporary residency card or equivalent visa) before they can acquire long-term resident status. Any gaps in residency of more than six months at once, or 10 months in total, disqualify you.
Financial self-sufficiency and health insurance are obligatory. In some countries, it’s also necessary to prove linguistic and cultural integration. After all that, most states issue national residency only, rather than a cross-EU permit.
2. New proposals
The proposed changes would slash the length of time candidates need to live in an EU country before being awarded more permanent status, from five to just three years.
What’s more, it could become possible to mix and match various spells spent living in different member states, whether for studies, a temporary posting or provision of cross-border services, seasonal employment or even as a refugee. Moving to work elsewhere in the bloc and taking your family with you, should become much more simple and an absence of up to 24 months should not lead to any loss of rights.
However, MEPs will look to withhold these new rights from those whose right to residence is thanks to a so-called ‘golden visa’ after investing in a member state.
3. Green light
Many right-leaning and far-right MEPs view immigration as a national prerogative and have railed against the assumption that all members would be in favour of the changes. The EU parliament has nonetheless approved the proposals going into the next phase.
Damian Boeselager, the German MEP (Greens) who put forward the proposed changes alongside packages on accessing and sharing talent pools and partnerships with third countries, framed it as a huge positive for the bloc in terms of both recruitment and retention.
The far-right tried to kill my bill on attracting international talent. They failed.Damian Boeselager, the German MEP
The proposals will now go to EU governments to consider and further negotiations are likely to follow. The hoped-for timetable would see the changes put into law by February 2024 before the next EU elections.