Immigration quota

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					                                        European Migration Network Ad-Hoc Query on

                                                           Immigration quota

                                     Requested by EST EMN NCP on 20th May 2008

    Responses received from Germany, Malta, Ireland, Spain, France Latvia, Lithuania, UK, The Netherlands,
         Poland, Austria, Slovenia, Finland, Sweden, Portugal, Belgium, Greece, Hungary and Bulgaria
                                         including requesting EMN NCP

1. Background Information

The Estonian Ministry of the Interior Affairs has an ad hoc query regarding the system of immigration quota.
The aim of this query is that our Ministry is planning to increase the percentage of immigration quota, but before that, we would like
to know the situation in other Member States.
Does Your Member State have such a system and if so, how it is regulated? In which migration sector do You use quota system.
Could You provide some examples how is the immigration quota subdivided by migration sectors (family reunification, employment, for
study etc).

2. Responses

       Belgium           There is no immigration quota in Belgium.
       Bulgaria          At present there is no system of immigration quota in Bulgaria.
       Czech Republic    -
       Denmark           -

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Germany   There are no general immigration quotas in Germany. Immigration quotas exist merely concerning three immigrant
             1. The quota for immigrants of German decent coming from the states of the former Soviet Union amounts
                  around 100.000 people a year (according to the legal regulation from 22. December 1999). Between 1993
                  and 1999 the quota amounted around 220.000 people per annum. In the last years the quota has not been
                  performed. In 2005 for example 35.552 ethnic Germans came to Germany. In 2006 7.747 immigrants of
                  German decent came.
             2. Personnel (mostly from Turkey, Middle and Eastern Europe) working for German employers outside of
                  Germany are allowed to enter into an employment contract with the head quarter (in Germany) as so called
                  contract workers for a time of two years at most. The quotas for these groups of contract workers depend on
                  bilateral agreements with the sending states and on the unemployment rates in the districts where the
                  respective office is situated. The employment of the contract workers is non-permissible in the districts with
                  unemployment rate of 30 %. The quota for the contract workers in the year 2006 was 39.100. The factual
                  inflow of the contract workers reached merely 52 % of the quota.
             3. According to the German immigration bill from the 1. January 2005 seasonal workers are workers coming
                  for the period of four month at most. They work usually in the agriculture, forestry, in the hotel services and
                  catering trade, in the food processing. The quota for seasonal workers depends on the employment strategy
                  of each individual employer. The employer is allowed to cover with seasonal workforce up to 80 % of the
                  personnel demand.

          Besides these three groups Germany agreed with several states of the Middle and Eastern Europe to allow low
          numbers immigration of “guest-workers” (for example, with Hungary – 2.000 people; Poland – 1.000 people,
          Bulgaria – 1.000 people). Guest workers should already possess some kind of occupational qualification and should
          have been working in their countries of origin for at least three years. Employed in Germany they get an opportunity
          to learn German language and to improve their occupational proficiency. They could be employed for 18 month at
          most. This group plays a minor quantitative role in comparison to the overall immigration flows to Germany. In the
          year 2006 only 1.400 guest workers came.

          Germany doesn‟t have quotas for family reunification immigrants because of humanitarian reasons.
          There are no quotas for foreign high-school graduates or students coming to achieve any university degree.
          There are also no quotas for immigrants employed as highly qualified or executive personnel (the so called “high
          professionals”, defined according to the “green card” regulation of the immigration bill from the 1. January 2005).

Estonia   In Estonia the annual immigration quota is the quota of people immigrating to Estonia, which cannot exceed 0.05%

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          of the permanent population of Estonia in a year (In 2006 were 686 persons). The immigration quota is set by the
          Government of the Republic. Within the limits of the immigration quota, the Minister of Internal Affairs may, by a
          ruling, establish a distribution of the immigration quota according to the grounds for application for the residence
          permit and the basis for issuing the residence permit, and the annual schedule. Persons who have the right to settle
          in Estonia outside of the immigration quota or to whom the immigration quota does not apply are not included in
          calculating fulfilment of the immigration quota.
          The immigration quota does not apply to the following:
          1)     The spouse of an Estonian citizen or of an alien who resides in Estonia on the basis of a residence permit;
          2)     A minor child, adult child, parent, grandparent or ward of an Estonian citizen or of an alien who resides in
          Estonia on the basis of a residence permit;
          3)     Aliens who are issued residence permits for study are exempt from the immigration quota.
          Actually the immigration quota is needed only for employment in Estonia.
          The immigration quota is not applicable for ethnic Estonians, citizens of Estonia, European Union, European
          Economic Area, Switzerland, Japan and the United States of America.

Ireland   Ireland does not operate a quota system for immigration purposes'.

Greece    Greece implements a specific procedure, provided by law, which forms a kind of a quota system for third country
          nationals entering the Country for the purpose of employment and seasonal work (mainly to cover specific
          seasonal manpower needs on agriculture - residence duration up to 6 months). Third country nationals entering the
          country for other purposes, such us family reunification or studies, do not fall under this procedure.
          Short description: a Committee is established in regional level with the task to issue a yearly report, which presents
          current needs for manpower in the specific Region, the available jobs per specialty, prefecture, as well as
          employment duration that can be covered by third country nationals during the reference year. For the composition
          of the report the Committee takes into account the interests of national economy, job offering from nationals and
          third country nationals legally residing in Greece, as well as the demand per specialty.
          Based on this report, the Ministers of Interior, Foreign Affairs and Employment and Social Protection, each year,

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        decide on the maximum number of residence permits for employment per prefecture (i.e. for year 2007, this
        maximum number for employees was set up to 6.342 persons while for seasonal workers up to 34.429 persons).
        This decision is forwarded to other national competent authorities and is also posted up on a visible position in the
        Hellenic consulate authorities. The latter receive applications by interested third country nationals, all year long,
        which forwards to the relevant Region in a form of a nominal list.
        Each employer submits, at a municipality level, a relevant application, in order to hire employees according to that
        list (at this stage the employer may decide on a personal level). The employer should also fulfil certain conditions
        related to the economic activity he/she exercises.
        The examination as well as the decision on this application is issued at a regional level.
        The Secretary General of the Region decides on the employment of the third country national who the specific
        employer has applied for and if it is permitted, the competent Hellenic consulate authority is formally informed in
        order to issue necessary special visa. Then, during the validity period of the visa the third country national is obliged
        to apply for his/her residence permit.

Spain   Spain doesn‟t have a Quota system Stricto senso, understood as a system designed to ensure that only a certain
        number of third country nationals are allowed to enter legally the country every year; therefore, and we do not have
        quotas per countries neither. Immigrants can be allowed to enter Spain, in not a pre-limited number, by different
        ways for family reunification reasons, for studies, job reasons…, if they meet all the requirements established in the
        Constitutional Law and Regulation mentioned below, and particularly, in the case of employees, if the Spanish
        National Situation of the Employment allows it.

        Even though, the “Contingente anual de trabajadores extranjeros no comunitarios”, which can be approved every
        year by the Spanish Government, pre-establishes the provisional number of job offers for permanent positions of
        one year length to be covered by workers who are not in Spain. The “Contingente” can also include a number of
        visas for looking for employment which could be granted to children and grandchildren of persons of Spanish origin
        and a number of visas for looking for employment limited to some determined activity sectors or to jobs in a limited
        territory. The “Contingente” can also establish particularities concerning the procedure for hiring seasonal workers.
        The job offers which come via “Contingente” will be preferably addressed to the countries with which Spain has
        signed agreements on Labour migration flows.

        The “Contingente” is regulated in the article 39 of the Constitutional Law 4/2000, of 11 January, on rights and
        liberties of foreigners in Spain and their social integration, an in the articles between the 77 and the 83 of the
        Regulation which develops that Constitutional Law, approved by Royal Decree 2393/2004 of 30 December 2004.

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                 “It is also recalled that this response is only for purposes of information exchange among national
                 experts in the framework of the European Migration Network (EMN), for those who have applied,
                 and does not originate rights or expectations of law in favour of these applicants or third parties, nor
                 commits the Public Administrations, and hence, the Government of the Kingdom of Spain.”

France       There is no immigration quota in France.
             The policy makers choose to encourage job immigration and struggle against illegal immigration.

             The government has to aim a target of 50% for job immigration before 2012.
             The challenge is difficult for a lot of reasons. This rate, specially, scores 10% in 2007.

             However, facilities are accepted for migration from third country nationals if workers.
             They are allowed to enter legally if they can get an employment in a firm among a list of 30 jobs.
             These 30 jobs are defined among the 466 jobs making up the french job index (which is called ROME : répertoire
             opérationnel des métiers), produced by the public employment service (ANPE). They are others facilities for
             workers ("compétence et talent" card, "wage-earner on assignment" card, "seasonal workers" card) ; these 3 cards
             are allowed during three years.
             Besides, bilateral planned agreements for migration with third countries (can) make an extension of the 30 jobs list.
             The french government has already negotiated 5 agreements, and three others agreements are under discussion. By
             example, Senegal obtained a 100 jobs list.
Italy        -
Cyprus       -
Latvia       The system of immigration of the Republic of Latvia does not provide any annual immigration quotas for the people
             immigrating to Latvia.
Lithuania    Lithuania doesn‟t use any immigration quotas. All we are interested in is that the worker is enough qualified for the
             job that s/he is intending to engage in.
Luxembourg   -
Hungary      In Hungary there is no general limitation on the number of foreigners residing in the country, however we have a
             special immigration quota concerning foreign employees. According to the national rules the number of employed
             immigrants having a work permit in a certain period cannot exceed the number of workforce demands announced in
             an average month of the year preceding the year concerned. The above mentioned number includes immigrants who
             have work permits issued in the framework of international agreements on the mutual exchange of workforce.
             The quota is issued yearly by the Minister of Labour and Social Affairs in form of a communication and is

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              published in the Official Journal of Hungary.

              As a main rule foreign nationals may only engage in work in Hungary in possession of a work permit. The contract
              for an employment relationship concerning any work that is subject to authorization shall be concluded only upon
              receipt of the authorization.

               No employment permit is required
                a) for foreign nationals granted refugee status or asylum under specific other legislation and for those who has
              been granted immigrant or permanent resident status, and
                b) for the employment in Hungary of persons with the right of free movement and residence. Different provisions
              from those laid down in point b) may be adopted by an act of Parliament or by a government decree.

Malta            „In principle, in view of its size and particular demographic situation, Malta does not have a set
                 immigration quota.

                 Third country nationals are authorized to reside in Malta only in exceptional circumstances, mainly in the
                 case where they possess specialized skills which are not available in the local labour market. Work
                 permits of a limited duration are issued to such persons. Different sectors of the labour market are,
                 however, constantly monitored with a view to ascertaining that a saturation point is not reached or, if
                 reached, that no further permits are issued or renewed to third country nationals to work in the sector/s in

                 In this regard it should be noted that, as a result of EU Accession Negotiations, in view of its sensitive
                 labour market situation, Malta was allowed to maintain its Work Permit system in respect of EU
                 Nationals with a view to continue monitoring the labour market vis-à-vis saturation.

Netherlands   The Netherlands does not have immigration quota, nor is the introduction of quota considered.

              The Netherlands does participate in resettlement programmes of refugees with the UNHCR and in this context a
              quotum is used. The Dutch government intends to resettle on average 500 refugees in the period 2008-2011, with a
              maximum (a quotum) of 2,000 for the whole period.
Austria       In Austria, immigration for the purpose of settlement (thus immigration with an intended long-term duration) is
              regulated by a quota system.
              Each year, the federal government in consultation with the main committee of the National Council of the Austrian
              Parliament enacts the Settlement Decree (Niederlassungsverordnung) based on the proposal of the Minister of the

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           Interior. The Settlement Decree fixes the number of settlement permits; in addition, it establishes the number of
           residence permits for temporary employment and harvest.
           The Settlement and Residence Act (Niederlassungs- und Aufenthaltsgesetz, NAG) stipulates, that the
           situation/development of the Austrian labour market (unemployment, needs of workforce in specific branches etc.)
           has to be taken into consideration and additionally, that the quotas are distributed among the provinces in a way,
           which reflects regional needs and opportunities. In this context, the nine provinces have the right to submit a
           proposal on the number of permits to be issued in the respective province. In addition, the opinion of representations
           of interests (e.g. Economic Chamber, Chamber of Labour) and the Austrian Institute for Economic Research
           (WIFO) are to be heard. The latter publishes a yearly expertise on the settlement of foreigners for the Ministry of
           the Interior, which is the most important basis for establishing the yearly quota (see
  The Settlement Decree is enacted every year and – ideally – enters into force
           by 1 January of the respective year.

           The quota is divided into the following categories:
              - employed key professionals and their dependants
              - self-employed key professionals and their dependants
              - family reunification (dependants of immigrants, who already settled down in Austria)
              - third country nationals, who do not have the intention to work (“private”)
              - third country nationals, who are long-term residents (according to Directive 2003/109/EC) of another EU
                 MS and wish to immigrate Austria
              - third country nationals, who intend to change the purpose of their settlement permit

           There are certain exceptions of settlement permits, which do not fall in the quota system, the most important
           category being (third country national) dependants of Austrian and EEA nationals, who are granted quota-free
           settlement permits.

           The Austrian legislation divides between settlement and residence (short-term immigration); examples for the latter
           category are e.g. students, researchers, intra-corporate transferees etc. For residence permits, no quota applies.

           In 2008, the total quota were 8,050 settlement permits, which was an increase compared to the preceding years
           (2007: 7,000; 2006: 6,870) (see attached table).

Poland     There is no immigration quota system in Poland.
Portugal   In Portugal we do have an annual immigration quota (which indicates the availability of job offers), applicable to

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           foreigners who want to obtain a residence permit for purposes of subordinated professional activity.
           In 2008 this quota was fixed in 8500 residence visas. The immigration quota is set by the Council of Ministers.
           The immigration quota is not applicable for European Union, European Economic Area and Switzerland
           Please see the link below (article 59 of the Immigration Act - 23/2007).

Romania    -
Slovenia   In accordance with the Alien's Act, which covers entry and residence of aliens in the Republic of Slovenia, the
           Government of the Republic of Slovenia can determine annually the quota of residence permits which may be
           issued to aliens in the current year (the quotas shall not include temporary residence permits issued for family
           reunion purposes, temporary residence permits issued to immediate family members of Slovenian nationals,
           temporary residence permits issued to accredited journalists, and temporary residence permits issued to artists).
           However, Government so far hasn‟t determined an immigration quota.

           Immigration quota for migration sector of employment is indirectly regulate by an act, which regulates employment
           and work of aliens. An alien who want to acquire a residence permit for employment or work purpose, must be in
           possession of work permit. In accordance with migration policy and taking into account the conditions and
           fluctuations of the labour market, the Government annually determines the quota of work permits through which it
           restricts the number of aliens on the labour market. Accordingly, on the basis of data provided by the Statistical
           Office, the quota may not exceed 5% of the actively working population of the Republic of Slovenia on an annual
           basis. The quota which the Republic of Slovenia agrees upon in international agreements is not included in the
           annual quota. The quota includes only those migration sectors for which possession of work permits is prescribed.
           Therefore, Slovenia does not set quota for the reasons of family reunification, etc.

           For example, in 2008 the annual quota was set in amount of 24.600 work permits and it was divided for following
           – 13.500 work permits for employment of aliens,
           – 2.000 work permits for seconded aliens,
           – 50 work permits for training and advanced training,
           – 8.000 work permits for seasonal work
           – 50 work permits for individual services.

           We have at our disposal additional 1.000 work permits which we can allocate for whichever of the above purposes.

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Slovak Republic   -
Finland           In Finland there is no immigration quota and historically there has never been one. Moreover, there have not been
                  any political discussions going on in Finland to set this kind of quota even in the future.

Sweden            In Sweden we do not have a immigration quota. Everyone who has been offered work in Sweden, who is not a
                  EU/EEA citizen, can apply for a work permit. The requirement to get a work permit is that the employment must be
                  approved by Swedish Public Employment Service and that the employer guarantees the pay and insurance of the
                  worker. In other words there must be a shortage of labor within the sector to get a work permit but there is not a
                  maximum number. EU/EEA citizens can work in Sweden without a work permit. When we in Sweden use the word
                  quota we refer to the refugee quota - Sweden cooperates with the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, in order to provide
                  protection for refugees within the framework of a special refugee quota. This means that approximately 1 800
                  refugees per year are offered asylum in Sweden and travel to Sweden for the refugees are provided by the Swedish
                  Migration Board.

United Kingdom    The UK does not have a quota or cap system for Migrants seeking to enter Britain from outside the European

                  The UK believes its newly created Points based system for migration is a more rigorous, flexible and effective way
                  of controlling migration than a cap or quota. The Points Based system will apply to all non-EEA Migrants - except
                  in certain specific circumstances relating to UK Ancestry. We estimate that close to 6 in 10 non-British migrants
                  currently coming to the UK will be within the control of the PBS

                  Through the points system we will be able to look at the different occupations and the different skills that are
                  needed by Britain at any given time. Where we then decide that we do not need a particular group of skills, we will
                  not allow people to migrate to Britain.

                  Details of how the Points Based System will function can be obtained from the following internet link:


                  The only variation that exists in relation to our strategy of carefully controlling migration to the UK exists under
                  Tier 5 of the new Point Based System. Here we will have a new Youth Mobility Scheme which we will operate on
                  the principle of balances. Sponsored young people from participating countries will be allowed to come and
                  experience life in the UK for up to 2 years, while young UK nationals enjoy similar opportunities in those
                  countries. Such young people will be free to do whatever work they like during their stay in the UK.

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As the scheme is open to anyone in a participating country who is aged 18 to 30 and who does not have any
dependent children and provides a generous work entitlement, it is right that we control overall numbers by
providing each participating country with an annual allocation of places on the scheme. These allocations will take
account of the individual country‟s level of immigration risk and the numbers of UK nationals entering that country
under its reciprocal youth mobility arrangements.

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