A work or worker permit serves as an official document that grants foreign workers the right to pursue employment in a foreign state. This document is legally endorsing individuals to generate income within that country. 

EU citizens have the right to work in another EU country without the need for a work permit. On the other hand, for most non-EU nationals, employers must secure a work permit as part of the hiring process. 

While the worker permit is a mandatory requirement across all EU Member States, the procedures for obtaining it vary from country to country. 

Some Member States place the onus on employers to initiate the work permit application, followed by the worker’s subsequent application for a visa and residence permit. 

In contrast, other countries have streamlined their processes. They are currently offering a consolidated single permit encompassing both residence and work authorization.

This article provides an overview of the processes involved in acquiring a work permit for each country in the EU.


Worker Permit: Brief Summary of Procedures in Each EU Country


  • Austria: Austria has a single permit procedure. Either the employer or the employee must submit an application for a residence permit. The Immigration and Residence Authority will print the permit after the foreigner enters the country. 


  • Belgium: Employers must first request a worker permit via the digital counter Working in Belgium. Subsequently, the foreigner applies for a work visa.


  • Bulgaria: Employers have to obtain approval for a work permit from the local Employment Agency. Next, the foreigner applies for a long-stay visa. After entering the country, they must obtain a residence permit and Bulgarian ID.


  • Croatia: Employers must request a work and residence permit via HZZ. Next, the foreigner applies for a National visa type D.         


  • Cyprus: Employers have to request a work permit from the Civil Registry and Migration Department (CMRD). The foreigner can then use it to enter Cyprus without the need to apply for an entry visa. Upon entering the country, they need to obtain a residence permit (Pink Slip). 


  • Czech Republic: It is the responsibility of the employer to apply for an Employee Card at the local Labor Authority. Subsequently, the future employee applies for a work visa.              


  • Denmark: Denmark is providing a single permit procedure. The employer and the foreigner must complete their part of the visa application online via SIRI.              



  • Finland: The country offers a single permit procedure that allows the prospective employee to apply for a residence permit. For certified employers, foreigners have the option to apply for a D visa. This enables them to travel to Finland 100 days before the residence permit becomes effective.                       


  • France: Employers must apply for a worker permit while the foreigner is still abroad. Subsequently, workers need to request a work visa from the competent French Diplomatic Mission.                       


  • Germany: Employers must get approval from the German Federal Employment Agency (BA) through ZAV to hire foreign workers. Upon obtaining approval, workers have to apply for a visa. The visa must be converted into a residence permit after entering Germany.                         


  • Greece: Employers need approval to hire foreign workers from the Decentralized Administration. Subsequently, the worker applies for a visa. After entering Greece, they must request a work permit from one of the one-stop shops of the Decentralized Administration.                           


  • Hungary: Hungary offers a single procedure. This enables workers to apply for a work and residence permit at the competent Diplomatic Mission.                            


  • Ireland: In Ireland, either the employer or the future employee can apply for a work permit using the Employment Permits Online System (EPOS). Next, the worker must request an entry visa. After entering Ireland, they need to obtain an Irish Residence Permit (IRP).                      


  • Italy: Employers must obtain a worker permit from the local Immigration Office. Then, the foreigner applies for a work visa.                                


  • Latvia: Employers must request a residence permit from the Office of Citizenship and Migration Affairs (OCMA). Subsequently, the worker submits a set of supporting documents to the competent embassy which will provide them with authorization to enter Latvia.                                   


  • Lithuania: A worker permit must be obtained from the Lithuanian Employment Service. The foreigner must then apply for temporary residence. They can do this either abroad or at the Migration Department upon arrival in Lithuania.                                     


  • Malta: Employers must apply for a single work and residence permit. After obtaining a visa and entering Malta, foreigners must obtain a residence card through Identity Malta.                                       


  • Netherlands: The Netherlands has simplified the hiring process through a single procedure. Either the employer or the worker must submit an application for a GVVA (combined residence and work permit) to the IND.                                            


  • Poland: Employers must apply for a work permit at the competent voivode. Next, the foreigner applies for a work visa at the relevant Polish Embassy.                                            


  • Portugal: After the foreigner acquires a work visa, there’s a separate process for obtaining a residence permit. Employers can apply for a residence permit at SEF.                                            


  • Romania: Employers must obtain a worker permit from the General Inspectorate for Immigration (IGI). Subsequently, the foreigner applies for a long-stay visa. After entering Romania, they must secure a single permit from the local branch of the IGI.                                                   


  • Slovakia: Slovakia has a single procedure in place. Foreigners must submit an application for temporary residence (single permit) at the competent Diplomatic Mission.                                                       


  • Slovenia: Either the employer or the future employee can apply for a residence and work permit through a single procedure.                                                        : 


  • Spain: Spain requires employers to apply for a permit on behalf of the prospective employee. Then, foreigners must apply for a work visa at the competent Diplomatic Mission.                                                          


  • Sweden: Sweden offers a single procedure to streamline the hiring process. Employers must apply for a worker permit at the Swedish Migration Agency. Foreigners are also responsible for completing their part of the application.     


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