In a significant move, EU Member States have reached an agreement on a negotiating mandate to update the EU Long-Term Residents Directive, which outlines the criteria for third-country nationals to acquire long-term resident status within the bloc.
The proposed updates include a more flexible approach to residency requirements, targeted integration measures, and enhanced intra-EU mobility. These changes are expected to benefit millions of third-country nationals living in the EU.
Key Highlights of EU Long-Term Residency Rules
1. Streamlined Residency Requirements
The proposed updates introduce a more flexible approach to residency requirements, allowing third-country nationals to accumulate residence periods of up to two years in other EU Member States to meet the overall five-year residency requirement.
This provision aims to ease the path to long-term resident status for individuals who have moved within the EU for work or study purposes.
Long-term resident status is permanent. However, it can be withdrawn in certain cases, for instance, when a person has not had their main residence in the EU for a certain period of time.said EU Council
2. Targeted Integration Measures
The directive emphasizes the importance of integration for long-term residents, encouraging Member States to implement integration measures tailored to specific needs and circumstances. These measures may include language courses, cultural orientation, and civic education.
3. Enhanced Intra-EU Mobility
EU long-term residents will continue to enjoy the right to intra-EU mobility, enabling them to move and reside in other EU Member States for work, study, or other purposes.
However, this right remains subject to certain conditions, such as labour market assessments by Member States to ensure that their domestic labour markets are not negatively impacted.
This right to intra-EU mobility is not an automatic right but is subject to a number of conditions. Such a condition is that member states may assess the situation of their national labour markets in case an EU long-term resident moves to their country from another EU member state for work.
4. Enduring Rights and Protections
Once granted, long-term resident status is permanent, providing individuals with long-term stability and security of residence within the EU.
However, the directive also outlines specific circumstances under which this status may be withdrawn, such as prolonged absences from the EU or engagement in activities that threaten public security or order.
Implications for Third-Country Nationals
The proposed updates to the Long-Term Resident Status Directive represent a positive step towards fostering a more inclusive and welcoming environment for third-country nationals within the EU.
By streamlining residency requirements, promoting integration, and upholding the right to intra-EU mobility, the directive aims to empower non-EU citizens to contribute meaningfully to EU society and achieve their full potential.
According to Eurostat data, as of the end of 2020, approximately 23 million third-country nationals were legally residing in the EU, accounting for 5.1% of the EU population.
Among these individuals, over ten million held a long-term permanent residence permit. These figures underscore the growing role of non-EU citizens within the EU’s social fabric.
The proposed updates to the EU Long-Term Resident Status Directive represent a significant step forward in promoting integration and mobility for third-country nationals within the EU.
By streamlining residency requirements, emphasizing integration measures, and upholding the right to intra-EU mobility, the directive seeks to foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment for non-EU citizens, enabling them to fully contribute to the EU’s economic, social, and cultural landscape.