News Item

Improving migrant integration through stronger EU laws

savvapanf ©, 2021
A stable residence status, being able to work and change job freely, and having access to social security all improve the integration of non-EU nationals in the EU. But research from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) shows that the EU long-term resident status granting these rights is underused. FRA calls on the EU and national authorities to simplify the rules, remove the barriers and improve the uptake of the EU status.

The EU’s long-term resident status grants people access to several rights. These would support their integration and inclusion into the host societies.

FRA’s new long-term residence report shows how the existing rules could improve:

  • Make the EU long-term status more attractive – the EU status provides more rights than national long-term schemes and allows people to move within the EU. To increase its uptake, the EU should simplify the rules and issue guidance on what applicants need to do. EU countries should also provide better information to applicants about the EU status.
  • Simplify residency and income requirements – to apply for the EU long-term permit, migrants must prove continuous residence in a Member State for five years and a stable income. This is a challenge for many. The EU should simplify the residency and income requirements to ease access to the EU status.
  • Ease accommodation and language requirements – migrants often struggle to provide proof of accommodation. They also find it difficult to meet high language requirements. Both are needed to apply for the EU status. The EU should remove accommodation requirements. EU countries should not require a language level higher than A2. They should also make language training more readily available.
  • Recognise qualifications and improve access to jobs and education – non-EU nationals often face obstacles in finding jobs that match their qualifications. The EU could propose legislation to promote quick and affordable recognition systems of qualifications obtained abroad. The EU could also revise the rules to ensure there is no discrimination in access to jobs and education.
  • Provide easier access to long-term residence status to children – family members often hold different residence permits. This means their entitlements vary. To rectify this, the EU could simplify the rules for children to become EU residents.
  • Improve mobility within the EU – the right to move within the EU is the biggest advantage of the EU scheme. But it is often not used. The EU should simplify the rules and spread the word among long-term residents.
  • Find solutions for temporary protection holders – the EU could allow temporary protection holders who fled Ukraine and currently reside in the EU to apply for the EU status.

The report draws on research and interviews with 51 experts and 267 non-EU nationals in the 25 EU countries where the EU Long-Term Resident Directive applies.

The findings will feed into the discussions about the revision of EU laws on long-term residency.