As published on: africa.businessinsider.com, Monday 27 November, 2023.
EU Member States have revised the EU Directive on long-term residence. This directive outlines the conditions governing EU long-term resident status acquisition for third-country nationals.
Third-country nationals are citizens from economically developing nations outside the European Union, such as Ecuador, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Egypt.
According to the directive, to acquire EU long-term resident status, third-country nationals have to legally and continuously reside in a member state for at least five years. This EU status exists alongside national long-term resident schemes.
Some of the shortcomings that the update tries to remedy are that EU long-term resident status is under-used, that the conditions under which applicants may acquire this status are too complex and that there are numerous barriers to exercising intra-EU mobility rights.
What the directive states:
“In accordance with the Council position, third-country nationals can cumulate residence periods of up to two years in other member states in order to meet the requirements of the five-year residence period.”
However, the Council specifies that only specific types of legal residence permits, such as EU Blue Cards or permits for highly qualified employment, will be accepted for this purpose.
“Certain conditions will apply in order for applicants to be able to acquire long-term resident status. For instance, third-country applicants must provide evidence of stable and regular resources that are sufficient to maintain themselves and the members of their family, as well as sickness insurance. Member states may also require third-country nationals to comply with integration conditions,” the directive read.
The EU long-term resident status, as outlined in the directive, is permanent but can be rescinded if the individual does not maintain their main residence in the EU for a specified period.
This status, unlike national residence systems, allows holders the flexibility to relocate and live in other EU countries, such as for work or studies.
EU long-term residents enjoy the same treatment as nationals concerning access to employment and self-employment, education and vocational training and tax benefits, for example.
Per Eurostat data, the total number of legally residing third-country nationals in the EU was 23 million, constituting 5.1% of the EU population as of 2020. Among these 23 million individuals, over 10 million held long-term or permanent residence permits.