An Empty Shell? The Protection of Social Rights of Third-Country Workers in the EU after the Single Permit Directive
European Journal of Migration and Law, Volume 17, Issue 2-3, 2015, pp. 210-238
29 Pages Posted: 14 Nov 2014 Last revised: 16 May 2017
Date Written: February 20, 2015
This article critically assesses the effectiveness of third-country nationals’ social rights protection in the EU following the adoption of Directive 2011/98/EU (‘the Single Permit Directive’). This instrument establishes a single permit for work and residence and sets up a common set of rights for third-country workers legally residing in a Member State. This article argues that despite being an important instrument allowing for a better protection of social rights of third-country nationals, the directive still reveals significant inconsistencies. First, due to difficult negotiations at the Council, the final text of the directive maintains the fragmented approach to legal immigration, excluding several categories of third-country nationals from its personal scope. Second, it also allows Member States the opportunity to impose important restrictions on social rights while implementing the directive. Finally, these restrictions can have considerable implications for the integration of immigrants in the host Member State. Accordingly, the argument is advanced that in reality the protection of third-country workers’ social rights in the EU still largely depends on the Member States’ political will.
Keywords: Single Permit Directive, third-country nationals, immigration, integration, social rights, restrictions
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