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Non-EU skilled employees working for multinational companies should be easier transfer from a branch outside the EU to a division or subsidiary within the EU thanks to a draft law endorsed by the Civil Liberties Committee on Thursday. MEPs also amended the draft to make it easier to move transferred workers between EU Member States and entitle their relatives to work in the host country, too.
The new EU directive would introduce a common set of rules to make it easier for companies outside Europe to send key staff to their branches within the EU (so-called "intra-corporate" transfers). The new directive would be addressed to non-EU managers, specialists and trainees who reside outside the EU and possess knowledge specific to the company.
EU countries would have to accept or reject a transfer application within 30 days and they would retain the right to decide on the number of third-country nationals admitted to their territory.
Successful applicants would benefit by being able to obtain combined residence and work permit in a Member State, and would be entitled to remuneration and work conditions comparable to those of national workers. The permit would be valid for a maximum of 3 years in the case of managers and specialists and 1 year for trainees.
Following the vote in the Civil Liberties Committee, rapporteur Salvatore Iacolino (EPP, IT) commented: "Only clear, fast procedures and mechanisms of mutual trust between Member States can give this directive the right flexibility for competitiveness and growth for companies established in the EU and ensure family reunification for the temporarily transferred worker. We have provided clear criteria for admission, in particular through a period of previous employment and adequate professional qualifications and experience. With our vote, we have strengthened workers' protection"..
Easier mobility within the EU
Non-EU workers who have been granted an intra-corporate permit in a Member State should be able to work in a branch belonging to the same group of companies located in another EU country and also at the sites of clients. However, transfers to other EU countries should not exceed half of the overall duration of the intra-corporate permit, says an amendment inserted by the committee.
The adopted text would allow Member States to reject the transfer application if the host entity was established for the sole purpose of facilitating the entry of intra-corporate transferees, if the worker has committed a crime or infringed EU laws, or if he or she is considered to pose a threat to public policy, public security or public health.
Relatives' right to work
According to the Commission proposal, Member States would have to decide within two months on applications for family reunification. MEPs propose to shorten this deadline, so that Member States would have to process requests for relatives at the same time as applications for intra-corporate transfers.
Once relatives' applications are accepted, they should also be entitled to work in the Member State which issued the permit for the same period as the worker, the committee adds.
To be eligible for an "intra-corporate" permit, managers and specialists should have worked for the company at least 9 months (3 months in the case of trainees), say MEPs.
Thursday's vote in the Civil Liberties Committee gives Mr Iacolino a mandate to start negotiations with the Council with a view to a first-reading agreement.
The Commission estimates that the total number of intra-corporate transfered each year in the EU at about 16,500, accounting for 4% of temporary migrant workers.
The legislative proposal on intra-corporate transfers is part of a "legal migration" package together with the seasonal workers directive, which is also currently under discussion in the Civil Liberties Committee.
These proposals complement the EU "Blue Card" Directive (adopted by Council in May 2009) and the "Single Permit" Directive (agreed by EP and Council and adopted by Parliament in December 2011).
The directive was endorsed with 42 votes in favour, 5 against and 3 abstentions.
In the chair: Kinga G√L (EPP, HU)
Rapporteur: Salvatore Iacolino (EPP, IT)
REF. : 20120123IPR35960