Employment and Social Security Rights of Third-Country Labour Migrants under eu Law: An Incomplete Patchwork of Legal Protection

In: European Journal of Migration and Law
Herwig Verschueren Faculty of Law, University of Antwerp Venusstraat 23, 2000 Antwerp Belgium Department of Public Law and Social Law, Vrije Universiteit Brussels Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Elsene Belgium

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Labour migration within the European Union (eu), as well as from outside the eu, has evolved significantly. There are more temporary forms of labour migration, such as seasonal work, temporary migration of both high- and low-skilled workers and temporary posting by employers. This evolution has led to an increasing vulnerability of labour migrants’ rights. In particular, the employment and social rights of these migrants are subject to legal disputes, as well as to political discussions. The latter resulted in the adoption of legal instruments meant to guarantee some rights to labour migrants, but which in some cases rather increased their vulnerability. This article explores the issues of employment and social protection of third-country migrant workers in legal instruments of the eu. It starts with an examination of a number of eu directives dealing specifically with labour migration from third countries such as the Blue Card Directive 2009/50, the Employers’ Sanctions Directive 2009/52, the Single Permit Directive 2011/98, the Seasonal Workers Directive 2014/36 and the Intra-corporate Transferees Directive 2014/66 (Section 2). This section also explores the interaction between these instruments as well as their shortcomings. Next, this article focuses on international agreements concluded by the eu with third countries. A large number of these agreements contain provisions which, directly or indirectly, regulate the employment and social security rights of nationals of the third States involved (Section 3). Further, it will comment on the issue of (the absence of) social security coordination between the systems of the Member States and those of third countries (Section 4). Finally, it draws some conclusions and pleads for a better enforcement of the rights already guaranteed and for a more prominent role for the protection of human rights (Section 5).

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