European Court widens door for 'guestworkers': Decision limits need for work permits for the unskilled

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The Independent Online
A NEW European Court ruling will severely restrict the Government's right to refuse entry to unskilled 'guestworkers' from countries such as Algeria and Morocco, if they already have work permits elsewhere in the European Union.

The court said a company legally employing non-EU workers in one member state had a right to take them with it to work on contracts elsewhere in the EU. The Home Office has traditionally insisted they must apply for a work permit - usually refused to unskilled workers.

The court came down against a claim by France that it had a right to insist on work permits for Moroccan workers resident in Belgium, who were taken by their Belgian firm to work on a demolition contract in Reims. Julia Onslow- Cole, a solicitor specialising in immigration law at Cameron Markby Hewitt, the City firm, said: 'The judgment has very wide implications for business.

'For example, a French company with a lot of Algerian employes legally resident in France could bring them to the UK to work on a contract without the need for a work permit.'

She said that until now they would have needed a permit but almost certainly would not have obtained one, without at least a degree and a management-level job.

Companies are expected to seek an extension of the ruling.