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Brussels, 13 July 2010

European Commission proposes scheme for intra-corporate temporary transfer of non-EU skilled workers

The European Commission proposes a new directive with the aim of facilitating for multinational companies to temporarily transfer third-country national skilled workers from a company located outside the EU to branches or subsidiaries in EU Member States.

"We need a European approach on labour migration that allows our economies to receive the migrants they need ", said Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs."Multinational companies operating in Europe need access to the right people, with the right skills, at the right time, but such key personnel are not always available locally. The need for these companies to be able to temporarily transfer workers to and within the EU has become more crucial in recent years. These intra-corporate transferees bring with them specialist knowledge and skills to Europe, which in turn contributes to strengthening the European economy and attracting further investments in Member States."

Intra-corporate transferees are a highly relevant category of workers for the EU economy: they are typically specialists and managers, possessing sought-after knowledge specific to the company, for whom no substitute could be found. The transfer of these qualified employees to the EU has the potential to increase investment flows, strengthen management effectiveness, expand EU exports, and enhance the competitiveness of EU entities in overseas markets as well as the competitiveness of the Union as a whole, which could help to achieve the objectives of the Europe 2020 Strategy.

However, barriers to such temporary migrations remain. Companies outside the EU are faced with a multitude of different rules and procedures when they want to send key staff to their subsidiaries within the different EU Member States. In addition, procedures for getting work permits in some EU countries are slow and complex and intra-corporate transferees face difficulties in moving between Member States.

The Commission proposes to create a common set of rules for a new fast-track entry procedure (30 days time-limit, combined residence/work permit) for a targeted group of highly specialised staff (‘manager’, ‘specialist’ and ‘graduate trainee') from non-EU countries.

The proposal also aims at establishing more attractive residence conditions for these staff and their families and an easier system for non-EU transferees to facilitate their mobility within the EU. This would be complemented by a clear legal status including the same working conditions as workers posted by an EU company.

EU Member States would remain competent to decide on numbers of transferees and provisions are foreseen to ensure the temporary feature of the migrations (3 years maximum for specialists and managers, 1 year for graduate trainees).


The 2005 Policy Plan on Legal Migration outlines the Commission's vision on how a common policy on legal migration should be further developed. It scheduled the adoption of several legislative proposals on labour immigration between 2007 and 2009.

The Council adopted the EU Blue Card directive on highly skilled migration in May 2009. The Commission's proposal of 2007 on a single work and residence permit and rights for migrants is currently considered by the co-legislators. The two new legislative proposals on seasonal workers and persons transferred within their company complement this package.

The Stockholm programme adopted in December 2009 by the European Council endorses the 2005 Action Plan of the Commission and calls for the adoption of an overall European policy on migrations, which is therefore a primordial objective for the European Union.

The Europe 2020 strategy considers that a well organised legal immigration policy will have a role to play not only in filling shortages of the labour markets and enhancing the competitiveness of EU but also in helping to face demographic challenges which most of the Member States face or will face in the near future.

For more information

Homepage of Cecilia Malmström, Commissioner for Home Affairs:

Justice and Home Affairs Newsroom:


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