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Non-EU workers - easier residence and work formalities

Non-EU workers - easier residence and work formalities

This directive establishes a single residence and work permit for workers from non-European Union countries. It also defines a range of specific rights to offer equal treatment to the non-EU workers covered by the directive.


Directive 2011/98/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 December 2011 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 directive creates:

  • a combined single permit for residence and work for non-EU workers legally residing in an EU country,
  • a single application procedure for this permit,
  • a set of rights (including equal treatment compared to nationals in that country) for non-EU workers covered by the directive.


Who is concerned?

The directive applies to non-EU countries’ nationals who are authorised to live or work in the EU, independently of their initial reason for admission. This includes:

  • non-EU nationals seeking to be admitted to an EU country in order to stay and work,
  • non-EU nationals who are already resident and have access to the labour market or are already working in an EU country.

Certain categories of non-EU nationals are not covered by the directive, such as those who have been granted EU long-term resident status (they are covered by other EU legislation).

Single application procedure

Authorities in EU countries must treat any application for this single permit for residence and work (new, amended or renewed) as a single application procedure. They must decide whether the application is to be made by the non-EU country national or by their employer (or by both).

The format of the single permit is the same as that described in Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 establishing a single residence permit for non-EU country nationals.

Right to equal treatment

The single permit allows non-EU country beneficiaries to enjoy a set of rights, including:

  • the right to work, reside and move freely in the issuing EU country,
  • the same conditions as nationals of the issuing country as regards working conditions (such as pay and dismissal, health and safety, working time and leave), education and training, recognition of qualifications, certain aspects of social security, tax benefits, access to goods and services including housing and employment advice services.

The directive sets specific criteria, based on which EU countries can restrict equal treatment on certain issues (access to education/training, social security benefits such as family benefit or housing).


From 25.12.2013.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2011/98/EU



OJ L 343, 23.12.2011, pp. 1-9


Council Regulation (EC) No 1030/2002 of 13 June 2002 laying down a uniform format for residence permits for third-country nationals (OJ L 157, 15.6.2002, pp. 1-7).

Council Directive 2003/109/EC of 25 November 2003 concerning the status of third-country nationals who are long-term residents (OJ L 16, 23.1.2004, pp. 44-53).

last update 02.01.2015