Migration and Home Affairs

Public Consultations

Sunday, 17 September, 2017
Consultation on the European Union's (EU) legislation on the legal migration of non-EU citizens (Fitness Check on EU legal migration legislation)

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Policy field(s)

Migration and Asylum

Target group(s)

Non-EU citizens considering to come to the EU; non-EU citizens residing or having resided in the EU; employers, business representatives and non-EU companies intending to provide services in the EU; public authorities; and NGOs, interested citizens and others.

Period of consultation

From 19 June 2017 to 18 September 2017

Results of the Consultation

Written contributions

Business and business associations
Citizens and Academics
Civil society organisations
Public authorities and international organisations
Trade Unions

Objective of the consultation

The open public consultation objectives were to collect evidence, experiences, data and opinions to support the evaluation, by the European Commission, of the existing EU legal framework for the legal entry and stay of nationals of non-EU countries to the EU Member States (legal migration) (N.B.: this excludes Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom that do not apply this EU legislation, with the exception of the Researchers' Directive 2005/71/EC, applied by Ireland). Legal migration should be understood mainly as stays of longer than three months in the EU.

The European Union Treaties stipulate that the EU has the competence to adopt common measures for conditions for entry and residence, and to define the rights of third-country nationals residing legally in the Member States. The Member States retain the possibility to control the volumes of migrants admitted for work.

The current EU legal framework covers the conditions for admission of third-country nationals for work, family reunification, study or research purposes, and regulates the long-term residence in the EU. The EU legislative framework includes Directive 2003/86/EC on family reunification; Directive 2003/109/EC on long-term residents; Directives 2004/114/EC on Students and 2005/71/EC on researchers, later recast as Directive (EU) 2016/801 (entry into effect in 2018); Directive 2009/50/EC on highly skilled employment (EU Blue Card); Directive 2011/98/EU on a single application procedure for a single permit and equal treatment of third-country workers; Directive 2014/36/EU on Seasonal workers; Directive 2014/66/EU on intra-corporate transfers.

The overarching objective of the legal migration legislation is to effectively manage the legal migration flows, while ensuring a fair treatment of non-EU citizens residing legally in the Member States. Furthermore, as far as the labour migration is concerned, the additional objective is to contribute to foster competitiveness and growth in the EU, in particular by helping to fill gaps and shortages within the EU labour market and combatting the exploitation of workers.

The current evaluation aims at assessing the relevance, coherence, effectiveness, efficiency and EU added value of the legislation; identifying possible gaps and inconsistencies in the EU legislation framework and analysing whether it contributes to an effective management of migration flows.

The results of the evaluation will assist the European Commission to understand better whether the current legislation is ‘fit for purpose’ and will be used to identify if the legal framework, can be improved and if so how.

For more information on this initiative, you can consult its policy webpage and the roadmap.

Structure of the consultation

The participation to the consultation was possible by answering the questionnaire on EU survey.

The questionnaire was structured as follows:

  1. an introductory part to collect background information about the respondents;
  2. a general part to explore the general views regarding the legal framework for the entry and residence of non-EU citizens in the EU; and
  3. five specific parts aimed at collecting data and views of specific groups of respondents, namely: (i) non-EU citizens considering to come to the EU; (ii) non-EU citizens residing or having resided in the EU; (iii) employers, business representatives, non-EU companies intending to provide services in the EU; (iv) public authorities; and (v) NGOs, interested citizens, and others.

The contributions received to this consultation (including any written contribution mentioned above), together with the identity of the contributor, are published on the European Commission's website, unless the contributor objects to publication of the personal data on the grounds that such publication would harm his or her legitimate interests.

Protection of personal data

The policy on "protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data by the Community institutions" is based on Regulation (EC) N° 45/2001 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2000.

Important notice:

As part of the European Transparency Initiative, organisations are invited to use the Register of interest representatives to provide the European Commission and the public at large with information about their objectives, funding and structures, by registering in the Transparency Register and subscribing to its Code of Conduct.

  • If you are a registered organisation, please fill in your Register ID number in the questionnaire. Your contribution will then be considered as representing the views of your organisation.
  • If your organisation is not registered, you have the opportunity to register now. Then return to this page to submit your contribution as a registered organisation.

If an organisation decides not to provide this information, it is the Commission's stated policy to list the contribution as part of the individual contributions (Consultation Standards, see COM (2002) 704, and Communication on ETI Follow-up, see COM (2007) 127 of 21/03/2007). These replies will be published separately.

For more detailed information on the protection of your personal data, please read this consultation's specific privacy statement.

Next steps

The results of the public consultation are taken into consideration in the preparation of the Commission report. Explanations about how the contributions have been taken into account will be provided.

Contact details

  • European Commission
    Directorate-General Migration and Home Affairs
    Unit B1 – Legal Migration and Integration
  • E-mail:
  • Postal address:
    European Commission
    Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME)
    Unit B1 – Legal Migration and Integration
    Rue du Luxembourg 46, B-1049 Brussels