Employment, Social Affairs & Inclusion

Equal treatment

Any EU citizen has the same right to work in another EU country as nationals of that country:

  • under the same conditions and
  • without having to apply for a work permit.

No restrictions – quantitative limits or discriminatory recruitment criteria – can be placed on the recruitment of nationals of other EU countries.


  • Language skills – job candidates from other EU countries may be required to demonstrate they have the language skills needed for the job, but the level of language knowledge required must be reasonable and necessary for the post. Employers cannot demand only a specific qualification as proof.
  • New EU countries – during a transitional period, access to employment may still be restricted for workers from the EU's new member countries.

Working conditions

An EU national working in another EU country must be treated in exactly the same way as colleagues who are nationals of that country regarding:

  • working conditions (for example, pay, dismissal and reinstatement);
  • access to training.

Social and tax advantages

  • Jobseekers – any cash benefits intended to help people find work must be available to jobseekers from other EU countries provided they have a genuine link with the local employment market, e.g. they have looked for a job there for a reasonable period of time.
  • Workers from other EU countries have the right to the same social and tax advantages as a country's own nationals. These might include fare reductions for large families on public transport, child benefits and minimum subsistence payments.
  • Cross-border workers (people who commute to work across a national border and return home at least once a week) enjoy the same benefits as any other worker in their country of employment. Although the Court of Justice of the European Union has held that no residence requirement may be imposed on these benefits, cross-border workers sometimes  encounter specific problems when claiming social advantages because these are still linked to residence.


Professional and semi-professional sportspersons are covered by the same EU rules: they can work in other EU countries on the same basis as nationals of that country.

The United Kingdom

All EU law, across all policy areas, will still be applicable to and in the United Kingdom during the transition period. It is currently foreseen that the transition period ends on 31 December 2020.

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