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Free movement of workers: general provisions

European citizens benefit from the right to free movement in the European Union (EU). To ensure the mobility of workers within the EU, the Regulation forbids any discrimination based on the nationality of European citizens who wish to take up employment in another Member State.


Council Regulation (EEC) No 492/2011 of 15 October 1968 on the free movement of workers within the Community (Text with EEA relevance).


Any person from a European Union (EU) Member State has the right to take up gainful employment on the territory of another Member State.

Similarly, an employer is free to circulate vacancies, and conclude and perform employment contracts with European citizens from other Member States.

3. No national legislation may limit offers of, access to, and pursuance of employment by European citizens from other Member States, except if related to the linguistic knowledge required by reason of the nature of the post.

Similarly, the Directive forbids any provision which subjects European citizens from other Member States to:

  • special recruitment procedures;
  • limits on the advertising of vacancies;
  • special conditions related to assistance in finding employment and registering with employment offices.

Exercising an occupation and equal treatment

The Regulation prohibits any discrimination between national workers and those from another Member State concerning:

  • working and employment conditions (dismissal, remuneration and reintegration into the workplace);
  • social and tax advantages;
  • vocational education and retraining;
  • collective or individual agreements;
  • membership to trade unions and the exercise of rights attaching thereto.

Workers’ families

The children of a European worker who is or has been employed in another Member State shall be admitted to that State’s general educational, apprenticeship and vocational training courses under the same conditions as the nationals of that State. All measures must be taken to ensure their education proceeds under the best possible conditions.

Clearance of vacancies and applications for employment

Member States cooperate and exchange information with each other concerning any study of employment, the labour market and the free movement of workers in the EU.

In addition, each Member State shall establish specialist services for the employment of workers from other European countries, in order to deal with vacancies and applications which may be targeted at them.


ActEntry into forceDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal

Regulation (EU) No 492/2011



OJ L 141, 27.5.2011

Last updated: 23.06.2011

See also

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