Seasonal Workers – EU institutions state of play

The European Parliament is due to begin discussions on “Seasonal employment: conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals“.

This follows the European Commission’s proposal on 13 July 2010 for a directive on seasonal employment which has the aim of “establishing a common procedure for entry and residence in the EU and defines the rights of seasonal workers from third-countries” .

According to the Commission the proposed directive concerns non-EU citizens coming to an EU Member State for the purposes of seasonal employment on EU territory. The work will be carried out during one or more fixed-term work contracts concluded directly between the non-EU worker and the employer established in a Member State. The proposal introduces a special procedure for the entry and residence of third-country seasonal workers and “sets out fair and transparent rules for entry and residence while, at the same time, it provides for incentives and safeguards to prevent a temporary stay from becoming permanent“. 

The only other existing provision in this area is the 1994 Council Resolution ‘on limitations on admission of third country nationals to the territory of the Member States for employment’.

Within the Council, Ministers have held a first exchange of views which resulted in “several ministers recalling the right of Member States to determine the number of third-country nationals to be admitted to their territories.  In this context, they pointed out that the impact on national labour markets should be taken into account. Several ministers also highlighted the need for greater flexibility, for example with reference to the proposed duration of stay or the time limits in which applicants must be given a decision. In the case of seasonal employment, a number of member states mentioned that a choice should be given on whether accepted third-country nationals would receive residence permits, as proposed by the Commission, or long-term visas.

Another issue highlighted by several ministers was the question whether the rights accorded to third-country nationals should be equivalent to those enjoyed by nationals of the host member states, in particular with regard to social security benefits. Other delegations questioned whether the proposal on seasonal workers was in line with the principle of subsidiarity.” (Quote taken from:

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