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Right to remain for employees



To lay down the conditions governing the right of workers and their families to remain residing in the territory of a Member State when they cease to be employed in that State, and the conditions for the exercise of such right.

2) ACT

Regulation (EEC) No 1251/70 of the Commission of 29 June 1970 on the right of workers to remain in the territory of a Member State after having been employed in that State [Official Journal L 142 of 30.06.1970].


The Regulation applies to nationals of a Member State who have worked as employed persons in the territory of another Member State and to members of their families.

The following have the right to remain permanently in the territory of a Member State:

  • a worker who has reached the age laid down for entitlement to an old-age pension and who has been employed in that State for at least the last twelve months and has resided there continuously for more than three years;
  • a worker who ceases to work in that State as an employed person as a result of permanent incapacity to work and has resided there for more than two years;
  • a worker who, after three years' continuous employment and residence in the territory of that State, works as an employed person in the territory of another Member State, while retaining his residence in the territory of the first Member State, to which he returns, as a rule, each day or at least once a week.

More flexible conditions as to length of residence and/or employment apply in certain specific cases.

Exercise of the right to remain in the Member State permanently extends to the members of a worker's family. If the worker dies during his working life, the members of his family are entitled to remain in the Member State in question permanently, subject to certain conditions.

The person entitled to the right to remain is allowed to exercise this right within two years from the time of becoming entitled to it. During such period he may leave the territory of the Member State. No formality is required in respect of exercise of the right to remain.

Persons entitled to remain are entitled to a residence permit which must be valid for at least five years and which must not cost more than the identity document issued to nationals. Periods of non-residence not exceeding six consecutive months do not affect the validity of the residence permit.

The right to equality of treatment with nationals applies to persons covered by the provisions of the Regulation.

The Regulation does not affect any provisions of a Member State which are more favourable to nationals of other Member States. Member States must facilitate re-admission to their territories of workers who have left those territories after having resided there permanently for a long period and having been employed there and who wish to return there when they have reached retirement age or are permanently incapacitated for work.

The Commission may, at the request of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, lay down different conditions regarding the exercise of the right to remain in Luxembourg territory, taking account of developments in the demographic situation of that country.

of entry into force
Final date for implementation in the Member States



Proposal for a European Parliament and Council Directive on the right of citizens of the Union and their family members to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States [COM(2001) 257 final - Official Journal C 270E of 25.09.2001].

Last updated: 18.03.2003
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