In February 2014, the European Commission announced a change for the labour market access of foreign workers.



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European Parliament & European Council. (2014). Directive 2014/36/EU. Available at

European Policy Centre. (2014). A success story for the EU and seasonal workers' rights without reinventing the wheel. Available at

Council of the European Union. (2014). Council adopts directive on third-country seasonal workers. Available at

The Past, the Present and the Future of the Seasonal Workers Directive by Agnes Tottos

Inception date: 29 Mar 2014 | Removal date: open ended

Labour market access

On 26 February 2014, the European Parliament and the European Council issued Directive 2014/36/EU, renewing the conditions of entry and stay of third-country nationals for the purpose of seasonal work (see 'Related Measures').
The agriculture and tourism sectors will be most affected by these new rules, but EU member states are free to extend these rules to other sectors dependent on the EU member state's climate and economy.
Due to the existing Visa Code, for seasonal work up to 90 days, this directive only specified the employment conditions; whereas seasonal work beyond three months is regulated in the provisions regarding both immigration and employment procedures.
Main elements of the Directive:
(a) The maximum amount of time a seasonal worker can stay must be defined between five and nine months.
(b) Non-EU nationals need a work contract or binding job offer in order to qualify as a seasonal worker. Furthermore, any accommodation for seasonal workers needs to grant minimum health and safety standards and rents are not allowed to be automatically deducted from the wages of seasonal workers.
(c) Seasonal workers already staying within the EU are allowed to change their working contract once during their stay or to extend the working period within the given limits.
(d) EU and non-EU seasonal workers need to be treated equally (employment, wage, work conditions, working hours, etc.). Furthermore, the member states are obliged to check if the seasonal workers have "an adequate standard of living" (art. 20(2) of the directive) during their stay.
(e) Non-EU Seasonal workers shall be granted access to social security (not including unemployment and family benefits).
(f) Non-EU seasonal workers need to be granted the right to lodge a complaint against their employers.
The new law is effective as of 29 March 2014.
The list of affected trading partners is based on neighbouring countries with likely more than 10'000 annual seasonal workers in the EU. Furthermore, countries such as Georgia or Armenia are added, as they have been explicitly mentioned in Tottos' article on the directive (cf. Sources).