Labour law

Employment and Posting of Union Citizens

1 May 2011 marks the end of the transitional arrangements on freedom of movement for the new member states that acceded to the European Union in 2004.

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1 May 2011 marks the end of the transitional arrangements on freedom of movement for the new member states that acceded to the European Union in 2004: Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Slovakia. With the expiry of the transitional arrangements, so-called EU-8 nationals no longer need a work permit for employment in Germany. Besides this, the last restrictions for service providers will be lifted in the construction, building cleaning and interior decorating sectors when posting workers to Germany. This beginning of European normality for new Union citizens is a welcome development. Together with citizenship of the Union, freedom of movement makes up a cornerstone of a European Union accepted and supported by its citizens.
Germany made full use of the permitted period of seven years to avail itself of the transitional arrangements. This procedure proved worthwhile. Today, however, the situation is quite different to seven years ago or during the last extension period two years ago. The economy and labour market in Germany have coped much better than initially forecast and the new member states have made up economic ground since accession. The German labour market has also progressed towards full freedom of movement in the transitional period by gradually enlarging access. So preventing disruptions of the national labour market and abuse is no longer the sole concern in labour migration from the new member states. A more pressing issue instead is now the growing need for skilled labour in response to the demographic change also facing Germany, as anticipated by businesses, trade associations and scientists.
It is very important for employees, employers and the public to be well informed about the legal amendments entering force as of 1 May 2011 and the framework for the employment and posting of EU citizens. This is essential to make the most of the scope afforded by full freedom of movement and also to prevent any detrimental effects on the workers concerned and the domestic labour market. Objective information will allay unfounded fears in Germany and in the new member states.
This is why the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs has published the information booklet, Employment and Posting of Union Citizens - 50 Questions and Answers on 1 May 2011. It largely provides information on the changes taking effect as of 1 May 2011 affecting work permit regulations. Many people are, however, unsure about the ongoing scope of application and supervision of the general conditions for employment and posting of Union citizens, which will now take on greater actual relevance for those coming from EU-8. To meet these information needs, besides the legal changes entering force the booklet therefore also deals with general questions on right of residence, jobseeking, labour law and social security.