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«The member States of the Council of Europe, signatory hereto, Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between ...»

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European Treaty Series - No. 93

European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers

Strasbourg, 24.XI.1977

The member States of the Council of Europe, signatory hereto,

Considering that the aim of the Council of Europe is to achieve a greater unity between its

members for the purpose of safeguarding and realising the ideals and principles which are

their common heritage and facilitating their economic and social progress while respecting

human rights and fundamental freedoms;

Considering that the legal status of migrant workers who are nationals of Council of Europe member States should be regulated so as to ensure that as far as possible they are treated no less favourably than workers who are nationals of the receiving State in all aspects of living and working conditions;

Being resolved to facilitate the social advancement of migrant workers and members of their families;

Affirming that the rights and privileges which they grant to each other's nationals are conceded by virtue of the close association uniting the member States of the Council of Europe by means of its Statute,

Have agreed as follows:

Chapter I Article 1 – Definition For the purpose of this Convention, the term "migrant worker" shall mean a national of a 1 Contracting Party who has been authorised by another Contracting Party to reside in its territory in order to take up paid employment.

This Convention shall not apply to:

2 frontier workers;

a artists, other entertainers and sportsmen engaged for a short period and members of a b liberal profession;


c persons undergoing training;

d ETS 93 – Legal Status of Migrant Workers, 24.XI.1977 __________________________________________________________________________________

seasonal workers; seasonal migrant workers are those who, being nationals of a e Contracting Party, are employed on the territory of another Contracting Party in an activity dependent on the rhythm of the seasons, on the basis of a contract for a specified period or for specified employment;

workers, who are nationals of a Contracting Party, carrying out specific work in the f territory of another Contracting Party on behalf of an undertaking having its registered office outside the territory of that Contracting Party.

Chapter II Article 2 – Forms of recruitment The recruitment of prospective migrant workers may be carried out either by named or by 1 unnamed request and in the latter case shall be effected through the intermediary of the official authority in the State of origin if such an authority exists and, where appropriate, through the intermediary of the official authority of the receiving State.

The administrative costs of recruitment, introduction and placing, when these operations are 2 carried out by an official authority, shall not be borne by the prospective migrant worker.

Article 3 – Medical examinations and vocational test Recruitment of prospective migrant workers may be preceded by a medical examination and 1 a vocational test.

The medical examination and the vocational test are intended to establish whether the 2 prospective migrant worker is physically and mentally fit and technically qualified for the job offered to him and to make certain that his state of health does not endanger public health.

Arrangements for the reimbursement of expenses connected with medical examination and 3 vocational test shall be laid down when appropriate by bilateral agreements, so as to ensure that such expenses do not fall upon the prospective migrant worker.

A migrant worker to whom an individual offer of employment is made shall not be required, 4 otherwise than on grounds of fraud, to undergo a vocational test except at the employer's request.

Article 4 – Right of exit – Right to admission – Administrative formalities

Each Contracting Party shall guarantee the following rights to migrant workers:

1 – the right to leave the territory of the Contracting Party of which they are nationals;

– the right to admission to the territory of a Contracting Party in order to take up paid employment after being authorised to do so and obtaining the necessary papers.

These rights shall be subject to such limitations as are prescribed by legislation and are 2 necessary for the protection of national security, public order, public health or morals.

The papers required of the migrant worker for emigration and immigration shall be issued as 3 expeditiously as possible free of charge or on payment of an amount not exceeding their administrative cost.

–  –  –

Article 5 – Formalities and procedure relating to the work contract Every migrant worker accepted for employment shall be provided prior to departure for the receiving State with a contract of employment or a definite offer of employment, either of which may be drawn up in one or more of the languages in use in the State of origin and in one or more of the languages in use in the receiving State. The use of at least one language of the State of origin and one language of the receiving State shall be compulsory in the case of recruitment by an official authority or an officially recognised employment bureau.

Article 6 – Information

The Contracting Parties shall exchange and provide for prospective migrants appropriate 1 information on their residence, conditions of and opportunities for family reunion, the nature of the job, the possibility of a new work contract being concluded after the first has lapsed, the qualifications required, working and living conditions (including the cost of living), remuneration, social security, housing, food, the transfer of savings, travel, and on deductions made from wages in respect of contributions for social protection and social security, taxes and other charges. Information may also be provided on the cultural and religious conditions in the receiving State.

In the case of recruitment through an official authority of the receiving State, such information 2 shall be provided, before his departure, in a language which the prospective migrant worker can understand, to enable him to take a decision in full knowledge of the facts. The translation, where necessary, of such information into a language that the prospective migrant worker can understand shall be provided as a general rule by the State of origin.

Each Contracting Party undertakes to adopt the appropriate steps to prevent misleading 3 propaganda relating to emigration and immigration.

–  –  –

Each Contracting Party undertakes to ensure, in the case of official collective recruitment, that 1 the cost of travel to the receiving State shall never be borne by the migrant worker. The arrangements for payment shall be determined under bilateral agreements, which may also extend these measures to families and to workers recruited individually.

In the case of migrant workers and their families in transit through the territory of one 2 Contracting Party en route to the receiving State, or on their return journey to the State of origin, all steps shall be taken by the competent authorities of the transit State to expedite their journey and prevent administrative delays and difficulties.

Each Contracting Party shall exempt from import duties and taxes at the time of entry into the 3

receiving State and of the final return to the State of origin and in transit:

the personal effects and movable property of migrant workers and members of their a family belonging to their household;

–  –  –

Each Contracting Party which allows a migrant worker to enter its territory to take up paid 1 employment shall issue or renew a work permit for him (unless he is exempt from this requirement), subject to the conditions laid down in its legislation.

However, a work permit issued for the first time may not as a rule bind the worker to the same 2 employer or the same locality for a period longer than one year.

In case of renewal of the migrant worker's work permit, this should as a general rule be for a 3 period of at least one year, in so far as the current state and development of the employment situation permits.

–  –  –

Where required by national legislation, each Contracting Party shall issue residence permits 1 to migrant workers who have been authorised to take up paid employment on their territory under conditions laid down in this Convention.

The residence permit shall in accordance with the provisions of national legislation be issued 2 and, if necessary, renewed for a period as a general rule at least as long as that of the work permit. When the work permit is valid indefinitely, the residence permit shall as a general rule be issued and, if necessary, renewed for a period of at least one year. It shall be issued and renewed free of charge or for a sum covering administrative costs only.

The provisions of this article shall also apply to members of the migrant worker's family who 3 are authorised to join him in accordance with Article 12 of this Convention.

If a migrant worker is no longer in employment, either because he is temporarily incapable of 4 work as a result of illness or accident or because he is involuntarily unemployed, this being duly confirmed by the competent authorities, he shall be allowed for the purpose of the application of Article 25 of this Convention to remain on the territory of the receiving State for a period which should not be less than five months.

Nevertheless, no Contracting Party shall be bound, in the case provided for in the above subparagraph, to allow a migrant worker to remain for a period exceeding the period of payment of the unemployment allowance.

The residence permit, issued in accordance with the provisions of paragraphs 1 to 3 of this 5

article, may be withdrawn:

–  –  –

Each Contracting Party nevertheless undertakes to grant to migrant workers whose residence permits have been withdrawn, an effective right to appeal, in accordance with the procedure for which provision is made in its legislation, to a judicial or administrative authority.

–  –  –

After arrival in the receiving State, migrant workers and members of their families shall be 1 given all appropriate information and advice as well as all necessary assistance for their settlement and adaptation.

For this purpose, migrant workers and members of their families shall be entitled to help and 2 assistance from the social services of the receiving State or from bodies working in the public interest in the receiving State and to help from the consular authorities of their State or origin.

Moreover, migrant workers shall be entitled, on the same basis as national workers, to help and assistance from the employment services. However, each Contracting Party shall endeavour to ensure that special social services are available, whenever the situation so demands, to facilitate or co-ordinate the reception of migrant workers and their families.

Each Contracting Party undertakes to ensure that migrant workers and members of their 3 families can worship freely, in accordance with their faith; each Contracting Party shall facilitate such worship, within the limit of available means.

Article 11 – Recovery of sums due in respect of maintenance The status of migrant workers must not interfere with the recovery of sums due in respect of 1 maintenance to persons in the State of origin to whom they have maintenance obligations arising from a family relationship, parentage, marriage or affinity, including a maintenance obligation in respect of a child who is not legitimate.

Each Contracting Party shall take the steps necessary to ensure the recovery of sums due in 2 respect of such maintenance, making use as far as possible of the form adopted by the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

As far as possible, each Contracting Party shall take steps to appoint a single national or 3 regional authority to receive and despatch applications for sums due in respect of maintenance provided for in paragraph 1 above.

This article shall not affect existing or future bilateral or multilateral agreements.

4 Article 12 – Family reunion The spouse of a migrant worker who is lawfully employed in the territory of a Contracting 1 Party and the unmarried children thereof, as long as they are considered to be minors by the relevant law of the receiving State, who are dependent on the migrant worker, are authorised on conditions analogous to those which this Convention applies to the admission of migrant workers and according to the admission procedure prescribed by such law or by international agreements to join the migrant worker in the territory of a Contracting Party, provided that the latter has available for the family housing considered as normal for national workers in the region where the migrant worker is employed. Each Contracting Party may make the giving of authorisation conditional upon a waiting period which shall not exceed twelve months.

Any State may, at any time, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council 2 of Europe, which shall take effect one month after the date of receipt, make the family reunion referred to in paragraph 1 above further conditional upon the migrant worker having steady resources sufficient to meet the needs of his family.

Any State may, at any time, by declaration addressed to the Secretary General of the Council 3 of Europe, which shall take effect one month after the date of its receipt, derogate temporarily from the obligation to give the authorisation provided for in paragraph 1 above, for one or more parts of its territory which it shall designate in its declaration, on the condition that these measures do not conflict with obligations under other international instruments. The

–  –  –

declarations shall state the special reasons justifying the derogation with regard to receiving capacity.

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