Does any of the EU countries accept applications for permanent residency? I mean immigration application like those of US, Canada, Australia, etc. Application for permanent residency based on education and work skills (kind of point-based system).

I mean direct application of non-EU citizens from outside the country, not changing temporary residence to permanent. From the permanent residence, I mean the right to live/work in the country indefinitely (like the US green card).

  • 2
    Maybe you should be more specific about what you mean by “permanent residence”, different countries have different definitions. Do you mean a status that would allow you to stay indefinitely in the country, without meeting any specific income or employment conditions? Also, “EU permanent residence” is normally used to mean permanent residence in another EU country as an EU citizen, an entirely different status that is neither granted nor applied for.
    – Gala
    May 5 '15 at 14:43
  • @Gala yes I mean the right to stay indefinitely like permanent residency of the US (Green Card), Canada, Australia. I am referring to immigration to a EU country for non-EU citizens.
    – Googlebot
    May 5 '15 at 15:28

Rules on entry and stay for non-EU citizens (“third country nationals”) are mostly set at the national level, which means that unlike the rules that apply to EU citizens, they can differ a lot from country to country within the EU. That said, and while I don't know them all, I am not aware of any scheme like that anywhere in the EU.

What you will find instead are the following:

  • Visas and permits based on your personal situation, e.g. for the spouse and children of citizens or residents. Those are often the only ones that are obtained as of right and result in immediate “permanent” or long-term residence.
  • Various work visas for highly-skilled migrants, somewhat akin to the US H1B visas but typically less restrictive (in that you are not bound to an employer, often have some time to look for work if you lose your job and can transition relatively easily to some permanent status).

    The difference with a green card and similar schemes is that you must typically show you already have a job lined up to get the visa and will need to renew your permit and prove you are still eligible every 1-3 years until you eventually qualify for long-term residence.

    The EU blue card is something similar, basically another skill-based migration scheme added on top of the existing national systems with slightly different conditions and some advantages if you want to switch between EU/Blue card countries. But a concrete job offer (with a salary above some threshold) is also required, you cannot get it based solely on experience and qualifications.

  • Job-seeker visas. Those are less common but do at least exist in Germany and, in a way, in Denmark, possibly elsewhere too. They resemble permanent residence schemes in that you can get one without sponsorship from an employer and ultimately transition to a full residence status but a key difference is that you are only granted six month or one year of stay at first and must imperatively find qualifying employment to get another status (usually one of the work visas/permits mentioned above).

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