EU to update rules for long-term resident status for non-EU nationals

At a meeting of the Council of the EU’s permanent representatives committee, EU member states agreed their negotiating mandate on amending a 2003 EU directive on the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents, a statement by the Council of the EU said.

The directive sets out the conditions under which third-country nationals can acquire EU long-term resident status.

In order to aqcuire EU long-term resident status, third-country nationals have to legally and continuously reside in a member state for at least five years. This EU status exists alongside national long-term resident schemes.

In accordance with the Council position, third-country nationals can cumulate residence periods of up to two years in other member states in order to meet the requirements of the five-year residence period.

However, in the event of an applicant having resided in another member state, the Council has decided to accept only certain types of legal residence permits, such as holders of EU Blue Cards or residence permits issued for the purpose of highly qualified employment.

Certain conditions will apply in order for applicants to be able to acquire long-term resident status.

For instance, third-country applicants must provide evidence of stable and regular resources that are sufficient to maintain themselves and the members of their family, as well as sickness insurance.

Member states may also require third-country nationals to comply with integration conditions.

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 However, it can be withdrawn in certain cases, for instance when a person has not had their main residence in the EU for a certain period of time.

Unlike national residence systems, EU long-term resident status grants status holders the possibility to move and reside in other EU countries, for instance for work or studies.

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.

EU long-term residents enjoy the same treatment as nationals with regard to access to employment and self-employment, education and vocational training and tax benefits, for example.

There are a number of conditions, such as the requirement that holders of a residence permit live within the territory of the member state concerned.

According to Eurostat data, in 2020 the overall number of third-country nationals legally residing in the EU was 23 million. This is a share of 5.1 per cent of the EU population.

Of these 23 million, more than 10 million third-country nationals were holders of a long-term or permanent residence permit.

Some of the shortcomings that the update of the 2003 EU Long-Term Residents Directive tries to remedy are that EU long-term resident status is under-used, that the conditions under which applicants may acquire this status are too complex and that there are numerous barriers to exercising intra-EU mobility rights.

On the basis of the negotiation mandate agreed on November 23, the Council of the EU can enter into inter-institutional talks with the European Parliament to conclude a final legal text.

(Photo: Council of the EU)

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