May 8, 2024

Revised Single Permit Directive Approved in European Union


Following the European Council’s formal approval on the 12th April, we would like to inform you about the impending implementation of the revised Single Permit Directive in the European Union. The directive aims to enhance the EU's attractiveness to foreign workers while reinforcing their rights. This revision is an update of the directive from 2011 and sets out the procedures for a single permit granting the right to work and to reside in the EU for non-EU nationals. The implementation date of the revised scheme is yet to be confirmed. 


What has changed?

The revision of the Single Permit Directive will lead to the mandated right of in-country applications for existing EU residents. It also aims to reduce application processing time frames from four to three months. The Single Permit Directive will expand rights for permit holders to change employers and remain in the country during periods of short-term unemployment. Finally, it will include the introduction of compliance monitoring obligations for EU Member States and a redress mechanism for foreign nationals.

EU member states will be granted a 2-year timeframe to incorporate the terms of the Directive once it is implemented. As a result, their government agencies will be required to adjust their procedures to comply with the revised directive and ensure effective monitoring of compliance before it is legally in effect in the individual state.

Who is affected?

The directive will affect foreign workers seeking employment in EU countries, the employers hiring foreign nationals in the EU, and the individual Government agencies responsible for immigration and labour regulations in each EU state.

What to expect/impact

It is anticipated that the Single Permit Directive will lead to an increase in the uptake of single permits due to faster processing times and enhanced flexibility for permit holders. It may also influence potential changes in labour market dynamics as permit holders gain greater mobility and rights. As permit holders will not lose their immigration status should they change employment or even be unemployed for a short period (subject to certain criteria), they may find they have a stronger standpoint in negotiating with employers.

What you need to do

Foreign workers interested in employment in the EU should familiarise themselves with the new application process and eligibility criteria. Additionally, employers should review their hiring practices and be prepared for potential changes in the labour market.

For further information on the EU Single Permit Directive, please contact the Sterling Lexicon immigration team at


Leanne Cottrell

Leanne Cottrell

As Head of Immigration with Sterling Lexicon, Leanne leads a team of specialists who are responsible for ensuring the entire immigration process is smooth and stress-free for clients, assignees and their accompanying family members. She brings over ten years of experience in strategic immigration management, planning and consultation to her role, and has cultivated invaluable knowledge and experience in processing countless global migration applications. As a trusted partner, she consults with clients on everything from policy considerations and cost or efficiency improvements, to the impact of opening offices in new locations. Leanne is a frequent presenter and author on global immigration topics and trends.

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