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“Europe Eases Labour Laws for Non-EU Workers, Including Those from India”

Brussels— In a bid to streamline immigration policies and alleviate labour shortages, the European Union has recently introduced significant reforms to the single permit rules for workers from non-EU countries. The updated regulations, unveiled on March 13, 2024, aim to facilitate legal immigration for employment purposes and promote mobility within the EU.

Key highlights of the reforms include a reduction in the duration of work permits, provisions allowing permit holders to change employers, and an extension of the period individuals can stay in the country even if unemployed. These changes mark a concerted effort to enhance opportunities for foreign nationals seeking employment within EU member states.

Under the new regulations, decisions on applications for single permits from third countries must be reached within 90 days—a considerable improvement from the previous four-month timeframe. Additionally, permit holders are granted the flexibility to apply for permits from within EU territory and switch employers with a simple notification process, subject to a 45-day window for countries to contest the decision.

Crucially, the reforms afford single permit holders the freedom to change employers, jobs, and fields of work, with limitations on labour market tests. However, EU countries retain the option to impose a six-month period during which changing employers is prohibited, except in cases of serious contract breaches or labour exploitation.

Furthermore, the updated regulations extend the permissible period for unemployed single permit holders to remain in the country from three months to six months, providing ample time to secure alternative employment. Member states also have the discretion to grant additional time as needed.

Overall, these reforms represent a significant step towards harmonising immigration policies across EU countries, fostering greater mobility, and facilitating the integration of foreign workers into European labour markets.

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