FREEDOM OF TRAVEL FOR THIRD-COUNTRY NATIONALS
WITHIN THE TERRITORY OF THE MEMBER STATES
Draft Council Directive relating to the conditions in which third-country nationals shall have the freedom to travel in the territory of the Member States for periods not exceeding three months, including a specific travel authorisation and determining the conditions of entry and movement for periods not exceeding six months.
||Articles 62(3) and 63(3) EC; consultation; unanimity of participating States
||10 July 2001|
|Forwarded to the Council:
||11 July 2001|
|Deposited in Parliament:
||26 July 2001|
|Basis of consideration:
||EM of 12 October 2001
|Previous Committee Report:
|To be discussed in Council:
||No date set|
||Not cleared; further information requested
7.1 This draft Directive constitutes a development
of the Schengen acquis. Although the UK has not applied
to participate in those parts of the acquis dealing with
border controls and visa policy, it could opt in to this proposal
if it wished.
7.2 The document is concerned with the conditions
under which third-country nationals can enjoy freedom of movement,
for a limited time, in the territory of the Member States. It
aims to address two sets of circumstances:
- the conditions under which third-country nationals,
already lawfully present in the territory of a Member State, can
travel freely for a period of no more than three months in the
territory of the Member States; and
- the issue of specific travel authorisation for
third-country nationals who wish to enter and travel around the
Member States for a period of between three and six months without
remaining in a single Member State for more than three months.
7.3 The proposal involves changes to the
Schengen Implementing Convention, and to the Common Consular Instructions
and Common Manual.
7.4 The draft Directive would apply only
to third country nationals who do not already have a right to
enter and to stay (short or long-term) in the territory of another
Member State. It would not affect the rights of free movement
enjoyed by family members of an EU citizen, nor the rights enjoyed
by other third country nationals and their family members under
the EEA Agreement, or under the EU/Swiss Agreement (when that
comes into force).
7.5 In her Explanatory Memorandum, the Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State at the Home Office (Angela Eagle) summarises
the conditions to be met in order to travel for a period of no
more than three months as follows:
"All third country nationals would have to be
in possession of a valid passport or travel document, should be
able to substantiate the purpose of the visit, have sufficient
means of subsistence for the period of stay and for the return
to their country of origin or transit to a third state into which
they are certain to be admitted, should not have been reported
as a person not to be permitted entry and should not be considered
to be a threat to public policy, national security or the international
relations of any of the Member states. These conditions are similar
to the conditions of entry established by the Schengen Implementing
"In addition, third-country nationals subject
to a visa requirement by Member States would need to be in possession
of a uniform visa valid for the duration of the stay.
"However, third-country nationals who hold a
residence permit issued by one of the Member states would only
need to carry their residence permit or a provisional residence
authorisation and a travel document issued by a Member State.
"Third country nationals who have not obtained
their residence permit in their host Member State but hold a long
stay visa would travel freely only from the date of the submission
of the application for residence permit to the Member State which
issued the long stay visa."
7.6 The Minister outlines the conditions
to be met for the issue of a specific authorisation as follows:
"The procedures and conditions for the issue
of a specific authorisation are similar to the conditions of entry
established by the Schengen Implementing Convention.
"The specific travel authorisation may be issued
for one or more entries at the diplomatic or consular authorities
of a Member State and would not be issued at a Member State's
external border. The specific authorisation would be issued in
the uniform format and contain the letter "E" followed
by the word "travel" and may not be combined with the
exercise of freedom to travel for no more than three months. Member
States may require third-country nationals exercising this right
to travel to report their presence in their territory."
The Government's view
7.7 The Minister states:
"If the UK were to opt in to the adoption of
the draft Directive, it would substantially affect the UK's freedom
to decide whether to allow the entry of third county nationals
arriving in the UK from another Member State."
7.8 The tenor of the Explanatory Memorandum
suggests that the Government is not intending to opt in to this
measure. While participation would undoubtedly impact upon the
Government's control over immigration policy, it would have considerable
advantages for third-country nationals wishing to travel as tourists
or as service providers (like musicians on tour, for example).
We ask the Minister for an explicit statement about whether the
Government intends to participate in the draft Directive. If it
does not, we ask whether it has any plans to make travel simpler
for third-country nationals who meet the specified conditions
in the proposal. We will keep the document under scrutiny until
we have her response.