Luxembourg Simplifies Access To Skilled Jobs For Non-EU Nationals

The new law on third-country nationals and the workforce entered into force on 1 September 2023 (Photo: © Jiayou Sun on Unsplash)

Luxembourg has removed the bureaucracy for trailing spouses and other third-country nationals with skills that are highly-prized in Luxembourg – a move that is hoped will alleviate the country’s skills gap.

Under the new law that entered into force on 1 September 2023, family members of third-country nationals holding a Luxembourg residence permit (family member residence permit) on the basis of family reunification will be able to enter the workforce as soon as they arrive. This fast-track into the labour market means beneficiaries will no longer need a work permit provided they have skills in one of the following areas: IT, healthcare, engineering, finance and business support and certain building trades. For anyone with a family member residence permit pre-dating the law, the rules are applicable from 1 September 2023.

The simplification applies to both people seeking employment or wishing to work for themselves. Meanwhile, individuals who are legally recognised as having international protection in Luxembourg, and have been in the process for six or more months, will also benefit from simplified access to the labour market. 

In the past, hiring staff from non-EU countries has been a lengthy bureaucratic process for employers, requiring ADEM to carry out a market test for jobseekers corresponding to the profile sought. Only when no profile is found in this pool, could the employer then hire a third-country national. For jobs in which Luxembourg is known to suffer from serious shortages of skilled workers (see above), the same law now simplifies the process for hiring third-country nationals who are not yet present on Luxembourg territory.

Carolina de Leon Brooks, who is in charge of talent acquisition for science candidates at the Luxembourg Institute for Science, praised the law as “good news”.

“We see that highly educated men and women married to the same “type” of profiles. Bringing them to Luxembourg and not giving the “plus 1” the same right to work was a big mistake for Luxembourg. With this law we are duplicating the highly qualified talent pool,” she said.

ADEM is meanwhile asked to shorten its lead times for market tests on other jobs that are not on the list of occupations experiencing a severe shortage. It will have just seven working days in order to check whether a jobseeker meets the profile required for the position available. If no candidate is found at this time and a third-country national with the required skills has applied for the role, the agency must issue a certificate allowing the hiring of third-country nationals within the following five days. If ADEM finds candidates with the required skills, the agency has 15 working days in which to provide applicants to the employer.

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