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Easier EU access for foreign experts

15 April 2014

With new EU legislation, it will become easier to bring IT experts and other specialists from abroad to Europe. Photo: Milacamomilla/Flickr (cc)

With new EU legislation passed by the European Parliament this week, it will become easier for companies to bring highly specialised personnel to Europe.
"Companies that try to bring highly qualified experts here from abroad are currently facing 28 different kinds of rules and red tape. The legislation passed by the Parliament today will be a welcome boost to our economy and to Europe's competitiveness on the global stage", EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström said in a comment.

"I welcome this adoption of the legislative proposal I presented in 2010 to introduce simple and smart legislation to bring the best talents to Europe. As we are bringing Europe's economy back from the economic crisis, we need the right tools to turn the ship around," Malmström said.

In 2010, the European Commission proposed the new Directive, aiming to make it easier for multinational companies to transfer key third-country national personnel located outside the EU to branches or subsidiaries in EU Member States. These so-called intra-corporate transferees, or ICTs, constitute a small but highly valuable group of employees for whom international assignments are part and parcel of their work. The number of ICTs expected to be admitted to the EU under the scheme is between 15 000 and 20 000 annually.

The provisions on intra-EU mobility is a main added value of the new legislation. The agreed text will allow the transferees to enter, stay and work in Member States other than the one to which they were initially admitted, subject to a number of safeguards, with limited or no interruption to their assignments. With the new rules in place, specialists and managers will be able to stay in Europe for three years on a single permit; graduate trainees for one year.

"Despite the crisis and the high unemployment, many highly qualified jobs currently remain unfilled in the EU due to the lack of adequate competences and skills. Europe needs to attract more highly skilled workers from outside the EU to match the needs of EU businesses and who can bring jobs and investments to our continent," Malmström continued.

The EU Council of Ministers will now formally vote on the proposal, but a political agreement between Member States has already been reached.

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Read Cecilia Malmström's full statement. The legal text in its entirety and more information is available at the website of the European Parliament.