European Commission proposes changes to EU long-term residency regulations

14 June 2022

With the aim to attract and retain more third-country talent, the European Commission (EC) has presented a proposal to “create a more effective, coherent and fair system to acquire European Union (EU) long-term resident status”. These changes are directed specifically towards third-country citizens who are settled legally and on a long-term basis in the EU.

Granting third-country citizens EU long-term residency status ensures that non-EU citizens who have lived in an EU Member State for at least 5 years have a permanent and secure residence status. They are also granted rights that are similar to those enjoyed by EU citizens, in terms of work, education, social security, access to goods and services. Finally – and for some third-country citizens, most importantly – the status makes it easier for these non-EU citizens to move to other EU Member States to work and study.

The proposal, referred to as a “recast” of the original set of regulations, aims at making it easier to acquire EU long-term resident status, in particular: by allowing third-country citizens to cumulate residence periods in different EU Member States in order to fulfil the requirement for the duration of residence. This clarifies that all periods of legal residence should be fully counted including residence periods as students, beneficiaries of temporary protection, or residence periods initially based on temporary grounds. Periods of legal stay under a short-term visa are not considered as periods of residence, and should not be counted.

The proposal also aims to strengthen the rights of third-country citizen long-term residents and their family members. This includes the right to move and work in other EU Member States, which should be closely aligned to the right that EU citizens enjoy. Allowing third-country citizens who are already EU long-term residents in one EU Member State to change jobs and move to another EU Member State for work can help improve labour market effectiveness across the EU, addressing skills shortages and offsetting regional imbalances. It can also improve the EU’s overall attractiveness to international talent.

The proposal additionally puts in place a mechanism to ensure a level playing field between the EU long-term residence permit and national permanent residence permits in terms of procedures, equal treatment rights, and access to information, so that citizens from non-EU countries have a real choice between the 2 permits. It also facilitates circular migration by making it easier for third-country citizen long-term residents to return to their country of origin without losing their rights, benefiting both the countries of origin and the countries of residence.

It is important to note, however, that not all EU Member States offer the EU long-term residence permit. The Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst – IND (Immigration and Naturalisation) website lists which EU Member States have this residence permit and what their definition is of an EU long-term resident.

Head over to for further reading on the recast proposal and its implications for third-country international talent in the EU.