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European Union: Draft Directive on Entry and Residence for Third-Country Seasonal Workers

(July 26, 2010) On July 13, 2010, the European Commission, as part of a package of measures proposed in 2005 and endorsed in 2008 to regulate legal migration, adopted a draft directive designed to establish common minimum standards for seasonal employment across the European Union. The EU has been facing an ever-increasing need for seasonal workers in agriculture and tourism, areas in which EU citizens are less inclined to seek employment.

The scope of the draft directive extends to citizens of third countries who seek seasonal employment within EU territory and introduces a simplified special procedure to facilitate such workers' entry and residence. The proposal also envisages that the work will be performed on the basis of a contract signed between the employer located in a Member State and the non-EU worker to ensure that basic rights of workers concerning conditions of employment and salaries are safeguarded. (Press Release, IP/10/930, RAPID, European Commission Proposes Common Entry and Residence Conditions for Third-Country Seasonal Workers (July 13, 2010),

Among other measures, the draft directive:

  • fixes a standard seasonal work time limit of six months for each calendar year;
  • leaves EU Member States free to decide on the number of seasonal workers to admit, based on their individual labor needs;
  • establishes common criteria for entry and residence of seasonal non-EU workers, e.g., a contract with an employer or a binding job offer at a fixed salary;
  • establishes a multi-seasonal permit valid for three years or a facilitated re-entry procedure subsequent to that period; and
  • requires that in certain aspects of employment seasonal workers be given equal treatment with nationals of the EU Member State where the work is performed. These include, among other areas, the right to association, access to goods and services, and eligibility for a social security pension. (Id.)