EESC opinion: Single application procedure for a single permit for third-country nationals

Key points:

The EESC proposes that the Council's work on this directive take priority over the Directive on highly qualified employment (COM(2007) 637), and the other sectoral directives, and also proposes that the Commission speed up its work on the other directives on admission that it has planned for the coming months (covering seasonal workers, remunerated trainees and intra-corporate transferees).

The Committee hopes that the EU will have adequate, sufficiently harmonised legislation so that immigration can be channelled through legal, flexible, transparent procedures, in which third-country nationals are fairly treated, with comparable rights and obligations to EU citizens.

The rights and obligations for third-country nationals contained in the proposed directive, based on equal treatment as regards salaries, working conditions, freedom of association, education and vocational training, represent a good starting point for future immigration legislation.

With regard to rights, the EESC feels that the starting point for this debate must be the principle of non-discrimination.