Connecticut, US

As European immigration advisors, our job is to help companies move their employees in Europe and advise on the most efficient ways to do so. In this context, we receive many questions from our clients: ‘Can we get an EU permit that allows a non-EU national to work in several EU countries? What if my employee based in Hungary has to travel to our Spanish entity to work on a project?’ They ask us these questions because they see Europe as a region and not a fragmented group of countries with different immigration policies.

Fortunately, in recent years, we have seen European developments that make it easier for companies to move their employees, whatever nationality, across borders in the EU.

The EU ICT permit: An opportunity for European immigration strategies

The new EU ICT permit has intra-EU mobility features that simplify immigration compliance for non-EU employees engaged in multi-jurisdictional work. It allows companies to strategise employee moves in the EU and make them more time efficient and less costly.

Overcoming national immigration hurdles

Some EU jurisdictions have long processing times and strict eligibility conditions (such as degree requirements) for immigration compliance for non-EU employees. However, businesses need flexibility and the ability to have people on the ground straight away. The EU ICT can be a solution to this problem. Obtaining an EU ICT permit in an EU country where processing times are shorter and where no degree requirements apply, and immediately leveraging the intra-EU mobility features of this permit, makes it possible to have that individual working where he/she is most needed, quickly and compliantly.

In theory, this all sounds quite simple. In practice, however, many aspects must be considered to remain compliant with the broad EU ICT legal framework.

Advocacy to remove Posted Worker Requirements

Where the EU ICT permit facilitates moves into and within the EU, this is undermined by posted worker regulations issued by the Member States. Fragomen has managed to obtain a clear position from the European Commission who has stated that posted worker notifications should not be required in the context of EU ICT mobility. 

Social Security costs

Another challenge to address with European immigration strategies is the social security liability of the foreign national working consecutively or simultaneously in several EU jurisdictions with the EU ICT permit. Despite unclear and conflicting EU legislation, which can lead to significant social security costs and compliance risks, diligent social security planning can support the application of the national social security scheme of “choice” on the overall European activities. Through Fragomen’s position paper which we put to the European, we managed to clarify with the European Commission what the social security implications are of the EU ICT permit when an individual employee is making use of the intra-EU mobility rights. The guidelines we have received enable us to advise holistically in this respect and elaborate on the best strategy for the intra-EU mobility of EU ICT permit holders.

What should employers do?

Although in a slightly convoluted manner, the EU ICT permit opens the door for immigration strategies to overcome immigration hurdles specific to domestic legislations. This leads to cost savings as well as time efficiencies. Companies should, therefore, consider these permits as a multi-European solution whereas individual domestic requirements may result in issues or delays.

 Do not hesitate to reach out us to discuss potential comprehensive strategies for your company and ensure you remain fully compliant while reducing social security costs. For more information, please consult our EU micro-site and the section on the EU ICT permit, as well as our slip-sheet.