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EU backs single permit for foreign workers27th of December 2011
Workers from outside the European Union will be able to apply more easily to live and work in member states following European Parliament's approval last week of a single permit directive.
The rules - already agreed by member states' governments - offer foreign workers the right to similar working conditions, pensions, social security and access to public services as EU citizens.
Migrant workers will have a single application procedure for residency and work permits once member states transpose the single permit directive into national law, which they are required to do within two years.
Member states will still retain the right to decide who can enter their territories, and to restrict the rights of specific foreign workers on an ad-hoc basis.
Cecilia Malmström, the European commissioner for home affairs commented on the move: "This is an important step in facilitating legal migration, as well as in ensuring rights for migrants who are legally working and contributing to the cultural richness of our societies and the strength of our economy."