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Migration and Home Affairs

Legal migration and integration

Greater mobility brings with it opportunities and challenges. A balanced, comprehensive and common migration policy will help the EU to seize these opportunities while tackling the challenges head-on. This policy – currently under development – is built upon solidarity and responsibility. It will have the added advantage of making a valuable contribution to the EU’s economic development and performance in the long term.

Organising legal migration better

The policy aims to establish a framework for legal migration, taking fully into account the importance of integration into host societies. The EU measures on legal immigration cover the conditions of entry and residence for certain categories of immigrants, such as highly qualified workers subject to the 'EU Blue Card Directive' and students and researchers. Family reunification and long-term residents are also provided for.

In December 2011, the so-called Single Permit Directive was adopted. It creates a set of rights for non-EU workers legally residing in an EU State. In 2014, two additional Directives were adopted, on the conditions of entry and residence for seasonal workers and intra-corporate transferees. The aim is to simplify and harmonise migration procedures and give migrants clear employment-related rights.

The EU Immigration Portal, launched in November 2011, provides hands-on information for foreign nationals interested in moving to the EU. The site is also directed at migrants who are already in the EU and would like to move from one EU State to another. It provides specific practical information about procedures in all 27 EU States for each category of migrants.

In the course of 2016 the Commission has launched a Fitness Check on Legal Migration. The roadmap is available on the Commission's Better Regulation webpage.

Enhancing the integration of non-EU nationals in EU societies

The EU approach to migration also addresses the issue of integration. Successful integration of migrants into their host society is essential to maximise the opportunities afforded by legal migration and to realise the potential that immigration has for EU development. With this in mind, the EU is promoting European cooperation to develop common approaches and exchange information at EU level.

Managing migration through partnership with non-EU countries

Building dialogue and partnerships with countries of origin and transit, based on solidarity and shared responsibility, is also an essential aspect of the common EU approach to migration. The Global Approach to migration and mobility, renewed in November 2011, is to be regarded as the overarching framework for the EU external migration policy, complementary to the EU foreign policy and development cooperation.


As emphasised in the Pact on Migration and Asylum, a successful integration and inclusion policy is an essential part of a well-managed and effective migration and asylum policy.


Labour immigration has a key role to play in driving economic development in the long term and in addressing current and future demographic challenges in the EU.

Family reunification

Family reunification Directive establishes the rules under which non-EU nationals can bring their family members to the EU country in which they are legally residing.

Study and research

Students and researchers Directive sets the conditions of admission and rights of non-EU nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training and voluntary service.

Long-term residents

Directive on the status of non-EU nationals who are long-term residents sets the conditions under which non-EU nationals can obtain the status of long-term residents.

Resettlement and other pathways to protection

Resettlement means the admission of non-EU nationals in need of international protection from a non-EU country to which they have been displaced to an EU country where they are granted protection.

Seven EU directives govern admission to and residence in the EU for non-EU migrants, and these laws cover a large part of the migrants arriving to or staying in the EU for work, study or to join family members.

The Talent Partnerships will enhance legal pathways to the EU, while engaging partner countries strategically on migration management.

The European Migration Forum (EMF) is a platform for dialogue between civil society organisations and European Institutions on topics related to immigration, asylum and integration.

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