If you work in an EU country and live in another country where you return every day, or at least once a week, you are considered a cross-border commuter under European law (or a cross-border or frontier worker).
All EU citizens have the right to work in another European country under the same conditions applied to citizens of that country and without having to apply for a work permit. The recruitment of citizens of other European countries shall not be subject to quantitative restrictions or discriminatory conditions.
Free movement of workers is a key principle of the EU, enshrined in Article 45 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union and further emphasized by secondary legislation and the case-law of the European Court of Justice. EU citizens have the right to:
- seek job in another EU country;
- work in that country without the need for a work permit;
- live in this country for employment purposes;
- seek job in another EU country;
- receive the same assistance granted to the citizens of the host country by the national employment services;
- stay in the country long enough to find a job, apply and be hired;
- remain in the country even upon conclusion of the professional activity;
- enjoy equal treatment granted to nationals in terms of job opportunities, working conditions, as well as any other social and tax benefits.
Job seekers may not be expelled if they can prove that they are jobseekers and can realistically find it. If you work in an EU country and live in another country where you return every day, or at least once a week, you are considered a cross-border commuter under European law (or a cross-border or frontier worker). Regulation no. 883 of 2004 and Implementing Regulation no. 987 of 2009 regulate cross-border employment. The frontier worker is a “worker who is employed in the frontier zone of an EU Member State but who returns each day or at least once a week to the frontier zone of a neighbouring country in which they reside and of which they are nationals”.
Frontier workers are required to pay social security contributions and other insurance benefits to the social security institution of the Member State where they work.
The Euradria region is populated by many workers who cross the border every day and work in the neighbouring country. This is the case of the Italian-Slovenian border, crossed every day by workers who reside in one of the two countries but work in the other.
This rule also has some exceptions:
Candidates from other European countries may be required to demonstrate that they have the required language skills for carrying out the job, provided that the level required is reasonable and in line with the activity in question. However, employers may not require a specific qualification as proof of this skill.
New EU countries: access to employment may be restricted for citizens from these countries during a transitional period.
An EU citizen who works in another European country shall be treated in the same way as national colleagues, in terms of:
- working conditions (salary, dismissal, reintegration, etc.);
- access to training.
Social and tax benefits
Allowances intended to promote research shall also be granted to citizens of other EU countries, provided they have a real connection to the local labour market, for example by seeking a job there for a reasonable period of time.
Workers from other EU countries are entitled to the same social and tax benefits as national workers (for example, fare reductions on public transport for large families, family allowances, minimum subsistence payment).
Cross-border workers, i.e., people who cross the national border for job purposes and return to their country at least once a week, shall enjoy the same benefits as workers in the country they go to work. Although the European Court of Justice has stated that social benefits shall not be subject to any requirement of residing in the national territory, cross-border workers still face problems when applying for these benefits.