EU-wide labour market
Free movement of workers, a core EU principle, allows every EU national to work in any other EU country without a work permit.
This helps employers find staff with the right profile, especially if candidates in their home country are in short supply. Recruiting employees from abroad can also make a business more creative.
Employers have to apply the same rules to workers from other EU countries – e.g. access to employment, working conditions including salary and paid annual leave, and dismissal – as they do for national staff. They may not impose any additional conditions.
Workers from the new EU countries may face temporary restrictions, but for no more than seven years after their countries joined the Union, i.e. until 31 December 2013 for Bulgarian and Romanian nationals.
Workers posted abroad
When providing services abroad, employers may temporarily post some of the staff they employ in one EU country to another EU country.
EU rules protect the rights and working conditions of these workers and avoid "social dumping". Conditions of employment for posted workers should therefore reflect those for local workers in the host country.
While removing the unnecessary obstacles to free movement of services, the protection of posted workers should be maintained.
Recognition of professional qualifications
When recruiting staff on the EU-wide labour market, professional qualifications, diplomas, experience or the knowledge of a certain language may be required. The EU defined a set of rules on recognition of professional qualifications, notably allowing automatic recognition in some sectors – doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives, veterinary surgeons, pharmacists, architects – or mutual recognition.
Authorities must also recognise work experience gained in other EU countries under the same conditions as experience acquired domestically.
National social security obligations and rights are the same for all staff, whether local or from another EU country. Each EU country has its own social security system which is an exclusive national domain.
However, thanks to EU coordination of these national systems, workers or retirees and other people covered by social security can maintain their social security rights, including pensions and health care, when moving from one EU country to another.
Meeting minimum social rules
Managing staff also means meeting minimum social rules, especially non-discrimination, gender equality, and health and safety.
EURES, the European job portal, offers employers information and support on recruiting across the EU. As well as assisting jobseekers, it helps entrepreneurs find workers from across the EU. In border regions, EURES provides information on cross-border commuting and helps workers and employers with problems that may arise.
Check also the legislation on this topic in: