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Greater mobility brings with it opportunities and challenges. A balanced, comprehensive and common migration policy will help the EU to seize these opportunities while tackling the challenges head-on.
This policy – currently under development – is built upon solidarity and responsibility. It will have the added advantage of making a valuable contribution to the EU’s economic development and performance in the long term.
Organising legal immigration better
The policy aims to establish a framework for legal migration, taking fully into account the importance of integration into host societies. The EU measures on legal immigration cover the conditions of entry and residence for certain categories of immigrants, such as highly qualified workers subject to the ‘EU Blue Card Directive’ and students and researchers. Family reunification and long-term residents are also provided for.
In December 2011, the so-called Single Permit Directive was adopted. It creates a set of rights for non-EU workers legally residing in an EU State. At the same time, EU is discussing Commission proposals for further Directives on the conditions of entry and residence for seasonal workers and intra-corporate transferees. The aim is to simplify migration procedures and give migrants clear employment-related rights. Furthermore, the Long-Term Residence Directive has created a single status for non-EU nationals who have been lawfully resident in an EU country for at least five years, thus establishing a legal basis for equal treatment in all EU countries.
The EU Immigration Portal, launched in November 2011, provides hands-on information for foreign nationals interested in moving to the EU. The site is also directed at migrants who are already in the EU and would like to move from one EU State to another. It provides specific practical information about procedures in all 27 EU States for each category of migrants.
Enhancing the integration of non-EU nationals in EU societies
The EU approach to migration also addresses the issue of integration. Successful integration of migrants into their host society is essential to maximise the opportunities afforded by legal migration and to realise the potential that immigration has for EU development. With this in mind, the EU is promoting European cooperation to develop common approaches and exchange information at EU level.
Curbing irregular migration
A sustainable and credible policy approach to the management of migration also requires addressing the issue of irregular migration. The EU is tackling the issue through specific measures targeting employers who hire undeclared migrant workers and by seeking to set up a humane and effective return policy, in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights. It is also targeting human trafficking networks and smugglers who take advantage of undocumented persons.
Managing migration through partnership with non-EU countries
Building dialogue and partnerships with countries of origin and transit, based on solidarity and shared responsibility, is also an essential aspect of the common EU approach to migration. The Global Approach to migration and mobility, renewed in November 2011, is to be regarded as the overarching framework for the EU external migration policy, complementary to the EU foreign policy and development cooperation.