Luxembourg’s industry federation, Fedil, has identified several barriers to employment that companies face when hiring non-EU workers. In fact, many companies are increasingly dependent on hiring workers from non-EU countries in order to find the qualified competences needed to develop their activities.
Indeed, companies are struggling to find the right skills in Luxembourg and the Greater Region to expand and evolve, even when it comes to replacing natural attrition. The process of hiring workers from non-EU countries is associated with an administrative burden that is disproportionate to the objective, Fedil has concluded.
Fedil has drawn up a position on the problems associated with the recruitment of third-country nationals, containing negative observations on the recruitment procedure, but also proposals for improvement and possible solutions.
Lack of speed and digitalisation
One of the points criticised by Fedil is the time limit for the delivery of work permits, which must mandatorily be applied for before the potential worker arrives in Luxembourg. The maximum processing time of four months resulting from Article 42 (3) of the amended law of 29 August 2008 on free movement and immigration can be a real obstacle to accessing the labour market, as it discourages companies from hiring workers from non-EU countries.
An acceleration of the processing of applications (from 4 months to a shorter period) is absolutely necessary in order to enable companies to have the required skilled labour available more quickly.
Fedil also pictures that the slowness in processing applications also affects the final residence permits issued to third-country nationals after the three-month temporary residence permit. In practice, it is not uncommon for an employment contract to be suspended for a not inconsiderable period of time because the residence permit for employment was not issued in time, even though the application was submitted shortly after the temporary residence permit was obtained.
The usefulness of the certificate issued by the employment development Agency (Adem) authorising the employment of a non-EU citizen should also be examined according to Fedil.
So, not only are the procedures for third-country nationals cumbersome, but they are also accompanied by a lack of communication on the part of the competent authorities. Fedil says it is essential that the administrative procedures related to the recruitment of third-country nationals be digitalised, with the possibility for the company and the worker to check the status of the progress of the application at any time.
English language and housing crisis as barriers
Another negative observation made by Fedil is that the English language is not used at all by the competent public authorities during the whole procedure. Even though English is not one of the official languages of Luxembourg, it is nevertheless felt that English should be used more (for information and documents) as third-country nationals often do not speak French and are in principle the first to be affected by the procedures.
The current real estate situation in Luxembourg is also one of the big challenges in recruiting third-country nationals. The housing crisis has a direct impact on the attractiveness of the country. In addition, foreigners from outside the EU more frequently face a lack of trust from owners.