OPAL - Observatory of Parliaments after the Lisbon Treaty

Case study: Seasonal migrants PDF Print E-mail

The proposal for directive on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purpose of seasonal employment (COM 2010 0379) is one of the European Commission’s initiatives in the field of labour migration. Due to resistance of the member-states and failure of some of its proposals in the Council, the European Commission was forced to adopt a sectoral approach, also developing a Blue Card directive for high-skilled migrants and a directive on inter-corporate transfers.

The seasonal workers directive is meant to harmonize application and admission procedures as well as periods of stay, protect migrant workers from exploitation and secure for them a number of social benefits. Although in the European Parliament the dossier mainly falls within the remit of the Employment Committee, in the Council it’s discussed by the Ministers of Interior. Other points of tension could be the option of providing seasonal migrants with unemployment benefits, as some provisions of the directive could suggest, or the use of the directive to regularize migrants with no legal residence permits.

Ultimately, the relevance of the directive for the member-states (and national parliaments) lies not only in the numbers of seasonal migrants but in the pressure and amendments that the directive can put on the national social security systems. Hence, the national parliaments would need not only to delineate between the EU and national competences in this sphere but also understand how the national policy regimes should adapt to the new EU initiatives.


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