Common EU immigration policy rejected - Single Permit law
17 December 2010
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The European Parliament rejected a draft Directive for a single permit law to simplify procedures for residence and work permits for legal immigrants in the European Union. The European Commission now has to decide whether to withdraw the proposal, present a new one, or try to keep the current proposal alive.
The single work permit directive, together with another economic immigration directive -- the so-called "blue card" for highly skilled migrants -- was meant to facilitate immigration of non-EU citizens to fill gaps in the European Union labour market. The goal was to simplify application procedures, provide a "one-stop shop" for immigration into the EU, and provide a common set of rights for immigrants legally living and working in the EU.
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The proposal was rejected in the Plenary session with 306 votes in favour of the Directive and 350 against, with 25 abstentions. A series of amendments to the Directive caused the liberal group in the Plenary to withdraw their support.
Some MEPs were concerned with what they considered to be limited progress on coming up with a common policy on immigration and asylum. Others felt that since it created different laws for different workers, the Directive would violate fundamental rights guaranteed by the EU.
The Directive is not completely dead; a decision to pursue the common immigration policy will continue with the Civil Liberties and Employment Committee deciding on the next step and reporting to Parliament in the next two months. The Commission will then decide whether to continue pushing for the proposed new directive, presumably with amendments, or draft a new one.