The European Union (EU) has taken a significant step towards fostering a more inclusive and welcoming environment for third-country nationals within its borders. EU Member States have reached an agreement on a negotiating mandate to update the EU Long-Term Residents Directive, which establishes the criteria for non-EU citizens to acquire long-term resident status within the EU.
In a significant move, EU Member States have reached an agreement on a negotiating mandate to update the EU Long-Term Residents Directive, which outlines the criteria for third-country nationals to acquire long-term resident status within the bloc. The proposed updates include a more flexible approach to residency requirements, targeted integration measures, and enhanced intra-EU mobility. These changes are expected to benefit millions of third-country nationals living in the EU.
Major Highlights of EU Long-Term Residency Rules
1. Streamlined Residency Requirements
The proposed updates introduce a more flexible approach to residency requirements, allowing third-country nationals to accumulate residence periods of up to two years in other EU Member States to meet the overall five-year residency requirement. This provision aims to ease the path to long-term resident status for individuals who have moved within the EU for work or study purposes.
Long-term resident status is permanent. However, it can be withdrawn in certain cases, for instance, when a person has not had their main residence in the EU for a certain period of time.said EU Council
2. Targeted Integration Measures
The directive emphasizes the importance of integration for long-term residents, encouraging Member States to implement integration measures tailored to specific needs and circumstances. These measures may include language courses, cultural orientation, and civic education.
3. Enhanced Intra-EU Mobility
EU long-term residents will continue to enjoy the right to intra-EU mobility, enabling them to move and reside in other EU Member States for work, study, or other purposes. However, this right remains subject to certain conditions, such as labour market assessments by Member States to ensure that their domestic labour markets are not negatively impacted.
This right to intra-EU mobility is not an automatic right but is subject to a number of conditions. Such a condition is that member states may assess the situation of their national labour markets in case an EU long-term resident moves to their country from another EU member state for work.
4. Enduring Rights and Protections
Once granted, long-term resident status is permanent, providing individuals with long-term stability and security of residence within the EU. However, the directive also outlines specific circumstances under which this status may be withdrawn, such as prolonged absences from the EU or engagement in activities that threaten public security or order. By streamlining residency requirements, promoting integration, and upholding the right to intra-EU mobility, the directive aims to empower non-EU citizens to contribute meaningfully to EU society and achieve their full potential.
According to Eurostat data, as of the end of 2020, approximately 23 million third-country nationals were legally residing in the EU, accounting for 5.1% of the EU population. Among these individuals, over ten million held a long-term permanent residence permit. These figures underscore the growing role of non-EU citizens within the EU’s social fabric.
The proposed updates to the EU Long-Term Resident Status Directive represent a significant step forward in promoting integration and mobility for third-country nationals within the EU.
By streamlining residency requirements, emphasising integration measures, and upholding the right to intra-EU mobility, the directive seeks to foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment for non-EU citizens, enabling them to fully contribute to the EU’s economic, social, and cultural landscape.
Inspired by an article by: Manish Khandelwal | Photo Credit: Freepik
By streamlining residency requirements, emphasizing integration measures, and upholding the right to intra-EU mobility, the directive seeks to foster a more inclusive and welcoming environment for non-EU citizens, enabling them to fully contribute to the EU’s economic, social, and cultural landscape.
In this exposé, Nigerian-born African enthusiast, Adetunji Omotola adds his audacious voice to the cry for Africa to recognise the value that her sons and daughters bring to Africa’s growth table and purposefully mine it for the global good.
The millennium saw the emergence of Africans in diaspora as a force with which to be reckoned. Some diasporans serve in the highest levels of government and many returned to Africa,particularly in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria. Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the current Director General of the World Trade Organisation; Dr Akinwunmi Adesina, the current President of the African Development Bank; Wally Adeyemo, the current US Deputy Treasury Secretary, and the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Godfrey Onyeama are some diasporans who have made it to cabinet level in Nigeria and beyond.
Nigeria leads sub-Saharan Africa in terms of diaspora remittances, with $23billion in 2019, followed by Ghana ($3billion), Kenya ($2.8billion) and South Sudan ($1.3billion). On the global remittances index Nigeria is in sixth place, with India in the lead ($79billion), China in second place ($67billion), Mexico third ($36billion), Philippines fourth ($34 billion) and Egypt fifth ($29billion). Despite these positive contributions by diaspora, there is a sense that that diasporansfeel extremely marginalized and unjustly treated. Nigerian Diasporans not having a vote is a grave injustice, when other African countries, such as South Africa, Kenya, Botswana,Rwanda and seventeen other African nations practice diaspora as a matter of course.
Nigerians in diaspora remittances still does not guarantee any inclusion into the Nigerian landscape. It also seems clear that,despite having a newly formed diaspora commission, there is no determination on embarking on a census on the numbers of Nigerians abroad. Research shows that the United States, UK, Italy, Germany and Canada have the largest numbers of Nigerians, followed by South Africa, France, Ireland, China and the Netherlands. These are the top ten countries with Nigerian populations. At the top is the USA (380,785), followed by UK (190,000), Germany (56,000), Italy (71,000), Canada (51,800),France (30,000), South Africa (30,000), Ireland (17,542), China (10,000) and the Netherlands (9,453). Great difficulty exists in determining the numbers in various African countries, due to a lack of data. According to Statistics South Africa in 2015, there were 10, 334 Nigerians who had temporary residence permits,25% of which had visitor’s visas and 355 had permanent residency permits.
Despite the success of Nigerians in foreign lands, the fact that there is still disconnectedness on many levels is painful and disheartening. There is no Nigerian national policy to absorb diasporans into the broader national landscape beyond settlements and investments. There ought to be a shift in the current haphazard methods in place for diaspora inclusion. It is a travesty of gigantic proportions that many Nigerians are ignored in a manner that creates deep concern and misery. There also exists a bias by those in authority towards Nigerians in the United States, Canada and Europe. The issue of not voting is one of the most notable examples of the failure to absorb Nigerians in diaspora into the political and economic development of the country. So many flimsy excuses are given by the members of the National Assembly and INEC regarding a lack of data and costs and also who will vote and which countries will be involved. This lack of political will is like a knee on the necks of Nigerians in diaspora, who observe voting by diasporans in Rwanda, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya and eighteen other African countries.
Nigerians in diaspora are the most educated migrants in the US. Most African doctors in South Africa are Nigerians, and there iseven a Nigerian Doctors Forum in that country. A Nigerian holds the world boxing heavyweight crown and there is the NBA most valuable player, Gianni’s Antetoukoumpo. Nigerian Ngozi Chimamanda-Adichie is a superstar and there is a slew of Hollywood actors, such as Chiwetel Ejiofor and more. There is Asa and John Boyega and Bayo Ogunlesi who owns Gatwick airport and was Trump’s adviser for some time. With all these observations it is clear that Nigerians in diaspora succeed across many formations and professions.
Nigerians in diaspora will provide Africa’s upward trajectory. What is missing at this stage is the ability of planners and African leaders work with various Nigerian diaspora groupings to access bodies like the African Union, the African Development Bank, the Pan African Parliament and regional bodies to build capacity and leverage the professionalism and skillsets of Nigerians in diaspora. The best kept secret that Nigeria and Africa by extension has in term of human capital is Nigerians in diaspora. Recently, Lt. Victor Agunbiade was given an award for his extraordinary accountability. Agunbiade received the Navy and Marine Corp Development medal for successfully managing $68 million. The amount represented 70% of its overseas disbursing volume. Agunbiade who was in charge of the money while he served as disbursing officer, comptroller department, Camp Lemonier in Djibouti (Horn of Africa) from October 2019 to July 2020, achieved 100% accountability among six rigorous inspections and independent audits with zero discrepancies.
Nigerians have become notable in the USA. Dr Bennet Omalu was the first person to discover and publish on chronic traumatic encephalopathy in American footballers. (Will Smith plays him in the 2015 film Concussion). In the legal space ImeIme A. Umana is the first black woman to be elected President of the Harvard Law Review in its 131 year history. Pearlana Igbokwe is the President of Universal Television and the first woman of African descent to head a major US studio. Dr Jacqueline Nwando Olayiwola is an Associate Professor at the University of California and the author of “Papaya Head” which speaks to first generation African Americans. Jacqueline’s siblings are Okey Onyejekwe, a medical doctor, Meka Don a lawyer turned rapper and Sylvia Onyejekwe, a lawyer. Jacqueline and her brother Okey frequently undertake two mission trips to Nigeria every year.
In the Netherlands there is circular migration between Nigerians in the Netherlands and the UK. Most are employees of Royal Dutch Shell and some work for ABN Amro, Nike, Celtel, IBM and CMG. There are about 500 Nigerians with Dutch passports. In Russia there are 2100 Nigerians on Facebook.
The Nigerian diaspora population is the biggest African population, with the exception of French speaking nations. Nigerians in diaspora also contribute the highest in terms of remittances. The remittance figure of $23 billion it is almost the same size as the GDP of Africa’s bottom ten countries, Togo, Burundi, Eswatini, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Lesotho, South Sudan, Djibouti, CAR, and Gambia. Is it not ironic yet all these countries have presidents, budgets and military and they all have a say in continental African affairs? For example, each country sends five members of its national parliament to the Pan African Parliament in Midland, none of whom are diasporans, yet diaspora contributes significantly to each of these countries. South Sudan’s diaspora remittances are 36% of its GDP, while Nigeria’s are 8%.
The failure of the Nigerian government to deepen its relations with its diasporan and include them in politics and business and other sectors of the economy is probably the biggest oversight in the last three decades. The current model of meeting a few diasporans, who are handpicked by diplomats abroad, has not yielded any meaningful result in the past two decades. With the rampant corruption happening in Nigeria, it may be wise to draft diasporans who are used to living according to their means and are not desperate to buy land in Ikoyi or Maitama in a matter of months.
There is a Diaspora Commission in Nigeria and there are also committees in both houses of the National Assembly but the Diaspora Commission board is yet to be constituted and the committee members in both houses are not even known to diaspora stakeholders and their impact has not been felt in any significant manner. There is a sense that diasporans are not given the seriousness that they deserve and until major steps are taken with diasporans, Nigeria will not grow into the true economic and political giant it can and should be. One can go as far as to suggest that the diasporan ought to have slots at the National Assembly and each state house of Assembly in the same manner that women participation is desired.
The following recommendations may be considered. Firstly, all Nigerians in diaspora who are aged 18 and over should be allowed to vote by 2023. Secondly, Nigerians in diaspora need to be on a database at every high commission. The missions should see the registration as their most sacred duty. Thirdly, Nigerians abroad doing business and in professions should be encouraged to join chambers of commerce between the host countries and Nigeria. It is also important to engage in positive branding about Nigeria in the countries with big Nigerian populations. A country with 200 million people should be branding Nigeria weekly, monthly and annually. The embassies can work with the community and the media to do so. There can be no doubt that countries such as South Africa, United Arab Emirates, United States and the United Kingdom have had their fair share of Nigerian scams and fraudulent activities so it is wise to promote Nigerians who are doing very well in those countries or face stiff visa restrictions when travelling to these parts. Nigerians in diaspora are the most marginalized Nigerian group and this needs to change very quickly. No nation will reach its full potential while it ignores its most productive population.
Barrister Adetunji Omotola is the founder of the Guild of Nigerian Professionals-South Africa. He is an alumnus of the Henley Business School, Executive Speaker Programme. He is a Bloomberg Certified Financial Consultant and Founder of 12 Disciples Leaders. He is an African Media Personality and Founder of Afrospace. He blogs at www.winelawandpolitics.wordpress.com. He initially published this article under the original title : Africa in the 21st Century and the role of Nigerians in Diaspora in its trajectory
Today the United Nations wraps up a two-day regional conference in #Nairobi, #Kenya ?? on global actions to prevent and combat terrorism. Here in a news bulletin on #TRTWorld, I shared a brief view on its global implication and what it portends for Africa. https://youtu.be/GgliHkKFM1I
On the sidelines of the conference to launch the Covenant on Demographic Change in Europe at the EU Committee of the Regions, I took some time out to speak to the EU Public Affairs programme, ‘Inside the Issues’ to evaluate the COP21 climate conference that took place in Paris, France. The broad focus of the brief but punchy talk was EU-Africa climate change relations within the context of the global discussions at COP21. On one hand you have African countries who do the least to pollute but pay the highest price in climate change terms. On the other hand you have the historical dimension of the EU that has been a leading contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions.
In this context the specific topics covered include:
The credibility of an EU-Africa partnership on climate change, given their divergent views.
Who were the winners and losers at COP21
Should developed countries, like the EU, pay the highest price in contributing to a better climate?
Click here or on the picture to watch the discussion, which also includes the perspective of a researcher, thus balancing politics with academics and in my opinion, excellently well delivered.
Politics and elections should be about people. It shouldn’t be just about State structures or budgets. The new Green that I align with sees a twin issue, not a single issue. Yes, the climate is changing. But the social climate is also changing. I do not want to save the planet earth with nobody to live in it. Thus, I am concerned about the incredibly fast pace at which planet earth is depleting. In equal measure, I am deeply worried about the growing inequality between people within Europe, but also between European citizens and people from other countries. The traditional parties would like to make you believe that high unemployment and the poor economy is as a result of massive migration. That does not add up. They won’t tell you that their neo-liberal and conservative social and economic policy path since the 1980s is the direct cause of the financial crisis of 2008, the euro crisis of 2010 and rising poverty (25% or 121 million poor Europeans) especially youths and infant poor. I believe in a people-centered economic and social policy driven by fair and equitable policies with a win-win for all.
Politiek en verkiezingen gaan over mensen, niet over staatsstructuren of begrotingen. Ik sluit mij aan bij het nieuwe Groen dat een dubbele uitdaging voor ogen heeft: het klimaat verandert, maar het sociale klimaat is ook aan het veranderen. Ik wil geen planeet redden waar er geen mensen meer zijn om in te wonen. Ik ben dus bezorgd over de ongelooflijke snelle tempo waarmee planeet aarde aan het uitgeputten is. In gelijke mate, ben ik diep bezorgd over de groeiende ongelijkheid tussen mensen binnen Europa, maar ook de ongelijkheid tussen de Europese burgers en mensen uit andere landen. De traditionele partijen willen ons doen geloven dat de hoge werkloosheid en de slechte economie een gevolg is van de massale migratie. Dat klopt niet. Ze zullen je niet vertellen dat hun neo- liberale en conservatieve sociaal-economisch beleidspad sinds de jaren 1980 de directe oorzaak is van de financiële crisis van 2008, de eurocrisis van 2010 en de stijgende armoede ( 25 % of 121 miljoen mensen), (jeugd)werkloosheid en kinderarmoede. Ik geloof in een mensgerichte economisch en sociaal beleid gedreven door een eerlijke en rechtvaardige beleid met een win-win situatie voor iedereen.
Lobbyists come last
The influence of lobbyists in European politics should be put to check by a clearer arrangement. A compulsory registration registry is the minimum. This will facilitate a more transparent, fairer Europe with respect for individual freedoms. We can’t rescue the euro but lose the Europeans. The activities of the lobbyists help to put too much emphasis on economic growth and too little on democratic and social growth, transparency in decision making and the deontology of the representatives of the people. A fairer Europe that I represent will de-emphasize too many economic interests and place the emphasis on the rights of the human person, his privacy and personal freedom.
Neen aan lobbyisten
De invloed van lobbyisten in de Europese politiek moet worden aangepakt door een duidelijkere regeling. We redden de euro maar verliezen de Europeanen. Teveel nadruk ligt op economie, te weinig op democratie, transparantie in de besluitvorming en de deontologie van de volksvertegenwoordigers. Teveel economische belangen krijgen voorrang op de rechten van de mens, diens privacy en persoonlijke vrijheid.
Cooperate rather than compete
Cooperation rather than competition is the winning formula for a purposeful Europe. This guarantees that Europe protects rather than threatens its citizens. The Green political family in the European Parliament will advocate for decent jobs and equal standards such as an equal income for equal work. We want a basic income for everyone so that more self-determination and flexibility is achieved. We strive for quality education and guarantees on jobs for young people. We want a social Europol and strong cooperation between the national social inspection services to ensure that abuse on salary, housing and undermining of social security systems is made impossible. We will propose laws that will sharpen existing solidarity mechanisms, reward those that collaborate and penalize those that undertake unfair competition practices.
Samenwerken in plaats van concurreren
Wij willen dat Europa vertrekt vanuit solidariteit in plaats van concurrentie, dat Europa haar burgers beschermt, niet bedreigt. We pleiten voor degelijke jobs en gelijke standaarden zoals een gelijk inkomen voor gelijk werk. We willen een basisinkomen voor iedereen zodat meer zelfbeschikking en flexibiliteit mogelijk zijn. We streven naar kwaliteitsvol onderwijs en garanties op jobs voor jongeren. We willen een sociale Europol en dus sterke samenwerking tussen de nationale sociale inspectiediensten om misbruiken inzake verloning, huisvesting en ondermijning van de sociale zekerheidsstelsels onmogelijk te maken.
Green Economy & Fair Taxation
I advocate for green tax regime based on the principle that the polluter should pay, but also that the strongest shoulders bear the heaviest burden as long as we do not break their backs. There must be an absolute halt to tax havens, fiscal amnesty and tax evasion. Europe must strive for greater transparency in the use of funds and not unilaterally a fair financial policy that focuses on savings but creates opportunities for future generations by smart investments in green jobs.
Groene Economie & Faire Belastingen
Ik pleit voor groene belastingregime gebaseerd op het principe dat de vervuiler betaalt, maar ook dat de sterkste schouders de zwaarste lasten moeten dragen. Er moet een absolute einde komen aan belastingparadijzen, fiscale amnestie en belastingontduiking. Europa moet naar meer transparantie streven in het gebruik van haar middelen. Eenzijdig financieële beleidsvormingen diezich enkel op besparing richt mogen niet meer. Een faire, sociaal Europa creëert het best mogelijkheden voor de toekomstige generaties door slimme investeringen in groene banen en de groene economie.
Diaspora Professional Integration
It is sad that a teacher who trained in Africa or Asia before migrating to Europe is unable to find a job as a cleaner in a school where he or she should be teaching. It is also intolerable that a migrant who qualified as a Medical Doctor in his or her homeland cannot work even as a nurse in an hospital without going back to school for some three years. It is even more depressing to note that in the UK for instance, a Diaspora Medical Doctor is simply required to take a professional entry exam and is admitted to practice the medical profession if successful in the exam. Why is this possible in the UK and not in Belgium for example? This is a loss for both the individuals involved and Europe as well. The European Parliament has a role in professional policy harmonization.
Diaspora professionele integratie
Het is triestig dat een leraar die in Afrika of Azië opgeleid werd vóór de migratie naar Europa kan geen job vinden zelfs als schoonmaker in een school waar hij of zij normaalgezien moet werken als lesgever. Het is ook onaanvaardbaar dat een migrant die in zijn of haar thuisland als arts gekwalificeerd is geen job kan vinden, zelfs als verpleegkundige in een ziekenhuis, zonder bijkomende opleinding van drie jaar. Het is zelfs meer deprimerend om op te merken dat in het Verenigd Koninkrijk bijvoorbeeld, een dokter van een buitenlandse afkomst gewoon een professionele toelatingsexamen kan afleggen. Slaagt hij voor het examen, wordt hij zonder verdere formaliteiten toegelaten tot het uitoefenen van het medische beroep. Waarom is dit mogelijk in het Verenigd Koninkrijk en niet in België bijvoorbeeld? Dit is een verlies voor zowel de betrokken personen als voor Europa of de betrokken land. Het Europees Parlement heeft een rol in de professionele harmonisatie van diploma behaald buiten de Europees Unie.
An inclusive and welcoming Europe sees no one as illegal. Europe must regulate migratory flows so that refugees – temporarily or otherwise – can get a safe haven. Europe has unmet and mismatched labour needs. While retraining and adaptation of training and education curriculum is required to serve the labour market better, studies and recent experiences in the care sector have shown that migration can be tuned to the needs of the labour market. We must be tough on human traffickers and employers who exploit undocumented migrants but Europe must enact more effective laws. The absence of such laws creates incentives for the bad guys. The message should be: tackle crime but don’t forget to tackle along the causes of crime. Europe must compel member states to comply better with European conventions on asylum policy and human rights.
Een inclusief en gastvrij Europa ziet niemand als illegaal. Europa moet migratiestromen reguleren, zodat vluchtelingen – al dan niet tijdelijk – een veilige haven krijgen. Europa heeft onvervulde en niet passende arbeid behoeften. Er is nood aan het aanpassen van het onderwijssyteem met nadruk op arbeidsmarktgerichte opleidingen en herschooling. Tergelijketijd hebben recente arbeidsmarktstudies en specifieke ervaringen in de zorgsector hebben aangetoond dat migratie afgestemd kan worden op de behoeften van de arbeidsmarkt. We willen hard optreden tegen mensensmokkelaars en werkgevers die mensen zonder papieren uitbuiten. Het niet van toepassing dergelijke wetten te creëeren als stimulans voor de slechteriken. De boodschap moet zijn: misdaad aanpakken, maar niet vergeten de oorzaken van criminaliteit ook aan te pakken. Europa moet lidstaten dwingen om beter te voldoen aan de Europese verdragen inzake asielbeleid en mensenrechten.
Africa – Europe Trade Policy
Trade between Europe and Africa is as old as mankind. Trade, not aid, must define the new Europe – Africa relations. Work is needed on both sides to accomplish this laudable ideal. Fair trade policies are at the heart of this new, equitable relationship. On the face of it, any move in the direction of equitable Africa – Europe Trade Policy will ring a bell of disadvantage for Europe and a win only for Africa. I do not think so because I’m convinced that fair trade is a deciding component of a fairer Europe. This will ultimately translate into a win-win for all. I want to see a European Parliament that encourages Europe to trade fairly with Africa in the expectation that proceeds from such trade relations will surpass aids financed by the European tax payers. It will also break the unhealthy culture of Africa dependence on Europe, albeit in a gradual, phased out and durable process.
Afrika – Europa handelsbeleid
De handel tussen Europa en Afrika is zo oud al eeuwen oud. Handel en niet ontwikkelingshulp moet de nieuwe Europa – Afrikarelatie definiëren. Er is werk nodig aan beide kanten om dit lovenswaardige ideaal te bereiken. Fair tradebeleid moet de basis zijn voor deze nieuwe, rechtvaardige relatie. Op het eerste gezicht, zal elke stap in de richting van een billijke Afrika-Europa handelsbeleid gezien worden als nadelig voor Europa en een overwinning voor Afrika. Daar ga ik niet me akkoord, want ik ben ervan overtuigd dat eerlijke handel een beslissende onderdeel is van een rechtvaardiger Europa. Dit zal uiteindelijk leiden tot een win-win situatie voor iedereen. Ik wil een Europees Parlement dat Europa stimuleert voor een eerlijkere handel met Afrika in de verwachting dat de opbrengsten van dergelijke handelsbetrekkingen de ontwikkelingshulp gefinancierd door de Europese belastingbetalers zal vervangen. Het zal ook de ongezonde Afrika-Europa economisch afhankelijkheidscultuur geleidelijk afgebouwd worden op een duurzame manier.