PICUM Letter to MEPs on Single Permit Directive

Keywords: European Policy Developments, Fair Working Conditions

The European Parliament (EP) will vote on Thursday, March 24 on the EP Report on the proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on a single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals to reside and work in the territory of a Member State and on a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State (“the single permit directive”).

Background to the single permit

The single permit directive, which complements the so-called "blue card" for highly-skilled migrants, is designed to simplify administrative requirements for third-country nationals by enabling them to obtain work and residence permits through a single procedure and grant a common set of rights to migrants regularly residing and working in the EU.

However, the directive excludes certain categories of workers such as refugees, permanent residents, seasonal workers, displaced persons and intra-corporate transferees from its scope.  The entry and stay conditions of these groups of migrants will be covered by separate sectoral directives that foresee a different procedure and a different level of rights and protection measures.

The proposal was first voted in the EP in December 2010 and was rejected by 306 favourable votes to 350 against, and 25 abstentions. Some political groups were opposed to the sectoral approach of the proposal and felt that such a proposal would be against the principle of equality of all workers. This week, the proposal will be voted in Plenary for the second time.

How you can help

PICUM together with other European NGO’s have prepared a letter to the MEPs in advance of the vote this week and we would like to ask you to help us maximise the impact by sending this letter to your national delegates in advance of the vote on Thursday. See the letter in the different language versions: English (EN - pdf)Français (EN - pdf)Español (EN - pdf)Deutsch (EN - pdf)Italiano (EN - pdf)Polska (EN - pdf)Nederlands (EN - pdf)


Brussels, March 21st 2011


Dear Member of the European Parliament,

In the coming days, the European Parliament will review the draft directive concerning the ‘single permit for migrant workers’. The undersigned organisations are in favour of such a directive, provided it foresees a facilitation of the residence and work permit procedure in the European Union for third-country nationals and allowing equal treatment with EU citizens.

Many non-governmental organisations have expressed their concerns regarding this directive, which currently contains numerous omissions and offers no guarantees for equal treatment. The principle of equality is acknowledged under international law, is upheld in binding European texts, such as the Treaty of the EU (Preamble, Art 2, and Art 21), the Charter on Fundamental Rights of the EU (Preamble and Art. 21) and the Stockholm Programme, which guarantees equal rights and obligations to regularly residing third-country nationals to those of EU citizens.

More specifically, the current draft directive:
-excludes various categories of regularly residing third-country nationals from its scope of application;
-permits EU Member States to limit the equality of treatment in comparison with workers who are EU citizens, which is contrary to the principle of equality in the workplace;
-does not provide a provision permitting third-country nationals living and working regularly in a Member State to have access to effective remedies and compensation for abuses they may be victims of.

Based on the above, we ask you to use this opportunity to establish a legal basis that guarantees all third-country nationals working on the territory of a Member State a common set of rights equal to those of workers who are EU citizens. Through your vote, you would reaffirm your commitment to the fundamental principle of equal rights for all workers, regardless of their origin, gender and nationality.

Best wishes,

Michelle LeVoy - PICUM Director

Pierre Barge - AEDH Chair

Fred Mawet - CIRE Director

Conny Reuter - Solidar  Secretary General

Bogdan Vanden Berghe - 11.11.11 Secretary General

Michaël Privot - ENAR Director

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