Lithuanian Presidency achieves agreement on common immigration rules for seasonal workers

31 October 2013, Last updated at, 12:18 EEST
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author: Reuters/Scanpix

The Permanent Representatives Committee (COREPER II) on October 29 in Brussels has endorsed a compromise text of the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment. This allows reaching a first reading agreement with the European Parliament on the Directive, after the formal voting in the European Parliament and later in the Council.

“This is the first European Union Directive providing for immigration rules particularly for low-skilled workers. By establishing a high level of protection of seasonal workers and facilitating their circular migration, this piece of legislation will bring benefits not only to the receiving Member States, but also to the countries of origin. However, the recovering economies of the Member States also require migration of highly-qualified workers, thus we need to conclude negotiations on the rest of the package, first of all the Directive on the intra-corporate transferees, ” said chair of the Coreper, ambassador Raimundas Karoblis.

By endorsing this Directive, the Council will follow one of the goals defined in the Stockholm programme, which is to continue implementing the Policy Plan on Legal Migration.

The Directive establishes rules for admission and stay of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal work and defines their rights. Seasonal workers will be admitted to work in Member States for the period of 5 to 9 months, during which they will have the possibility to extend their work contract or change the employer at least once. The procedures for issuing authorisation for seasonal workers will not take more than 90 days, and bona fide seasonal workers will benefit from facilitated re-entry procedures.

The Directive establishes rules ensuring adequate accommodation of seasonal workers, their right to receive compensation from employers in case the authorisation is withdrawn because of the employers’ fault, and provides for equal treatment with nationals of the Member States in various areas, such as terms of employment or social security.

Member States will provide for monitoring and inspection measures to prevent possible abuses and sanction infringements of this Directive.

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