AMCHAM is very pleased to spread the news that the proposal to change the spousal work permit approval process has been appropriately drafted and is on its way to the Chamber of Deputies for enactment into Luxembourg law.
As our readers are well aware, AMCHAM for some time now has been advocating strongly for a change in the current Luxembourg policy related to spousal work permits for non-EU citizens. Current policy requires accompanying spouses of non-EU work permit holders to find a job and then apply for a work permit just like the person that is sponsoring them had to do to get their job. However, as accompanying spouses are already sponsored and constitute no risk of becoming a burden on the state we believe they therefore should have a simpler process.
While this work permit for accompanying spouses may appear sensible at face value, in the practical world in which we live, it has not worked out very well because HR departments, particularly in small and medium size companies are put off by the additional uncertainty, paperwork and cost caused by the full formal work permit approval process requirements and, to a very large degree, are reluctant to even consider the applications of candidates requiring work permits. As a result, Luxembourg has almost 3,000 persons living legally in the country, many of whom really want to work or set up companies (and 95% of them are women), who face an unnecessarily complicated work permit approval process which effectively blocks them from being employed.
We believe the current work permit approval process for accompanied spouses of non-EU residents who have been granted work permits is not in Luxembourg’s best interests, is unnecessarily burdensome and, defacto, constitutes an unintended but nonetheless direct and egregious structural discrimination against women.
We quite strongly believe that this current policy is outdated and should be changed to give these accompanying family members of persons already approved and issued work permits a document or card which they can present to potential employers to confirm they are completely entitled to work without any additional paperwork. Considering that Luxembourg has achieved full employment, allowing these accompanying spouses easier permission to work will likely be a boon to employers and certainly ease the stress born by these accompanying spouses who may well want to have the intellectual stimulation and dignity of working while likewise earning extra income to contribute to support their families to live in our high cost of living country.
We are very pleased and sincerely thank Prime Minister Bettel and Minister of Finance Backes for understanding this unintended problem and for their support for this proposed change. We are deeply gratified to hear that the bill to make this change has been appropriately drafted and is on its way to the Chamber of Deputies for deliberation and approval. The proposed change will make it easier for accompanying spouses to set up companies as well.
On behalf of the accompanying spouses who have been unjustly harmed by the present policy, we urge all of the members of the Chamber of Deputies to approve this policy change as soon as it is presented for approval. We will be very pleased to publish the name and political affiliation of every Deputy who promises to vote to correct this problem. Better still, we ask every political party to pledge to support this change and likewise promise to publish the name of every party that pledges their full support.
Now is the time to solve this problem once and for all! Thanks to all of you for confirming their support by writing to Info@amcham.lu. Let’s get this change enacted into law before the election of a new Chamber of Deputies!