What primary and secondary legislation governs immigration in your jurisdiction?
Luxembourg immigration law comprises EU and national legal instruments which govern the entry, stay, settlement and removal of ‘foreign nationals’ (ie, individuals who are not Luxembourg nationals).International agreements
Has your jurisdiction concluded any international agreements affecting immigration (eg, free trade agreements or free movement accords)?
Luxembourg is a member of the European Union and the European Economic Area and a signatory to the Schengen Agreement.
The European Union has concluded and is currently negotiating trade agreements with countries and regions worldwide.
Luxembourg has concluded agreements to encourage the economic migration of third-country nationals, including the agreement with the Republic of Cape Verde on the Concerted Management of Migratory Flows and Solidarity-Based Development (ratified by the Law of 20 July 2017) and the so-called ‘working holiday visa’ agreement with Australia, which entered into force on 1 January 2017.
Luxembourg has also concluded social security agreements with several non-EU countries, such as those with China (signed on 27 November 2017) and South Korea (signed on 1 March 2018) and the Administrative Agreement for the Implementation of the Bilateral Convention of Social Security between the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and the Kingdom of Morocco (signed on 17 October 2017).
In addition, Luxembourg is a member of the International Commission on Civil Status.
Luxembourg has committed to dedicate 1% of its gross national income to development cooperation and humanitarian aid. Within this context, it has concluded cooperation agreements with several countries (eg, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde and Mali).Regulatory authorities
Which government authorities regulate immigration and what is the extent of their enforcement powers? Can the decisions of these authorities be appealed?
The authority primarily in charge of immigration is the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Directorate of Immigration, which comprises several units, including:
- the Foreigners Department;
- the Refugees Department; and
- the Return Department.
The inter-ministerial integration committee brings together 13 ministries and one implementing agency (the Agency for the Development of Employment). In July 2018 the inter-ministerial integration committee adopted a new National Action Plan on Integration under the coordination of the Luxembourg Reception and Integration Agency.
Decisions of government authorities can be appealed.Government policy
In broad terms what is your government’s policy towards business immigration?
Luxembourg’s current population (613,694 residents) encompasses a wide range of nationalities (47% of the population comprises foreign nationals). In addition, 177,000 cross-border workers enter Luxembourg each day.
Standard & Poors has confirmed that Luxembourg is one of only 11 countries to have a AAA rating. The country’s gross domestic product reached 2.6% in 2018, which is higher than the EU average, and its average gross annual remuneration for 2018 was €52,224.
The family benefits system exports almost 48% of family benefits.
Luxembourg imports talent and then acts to protect it. The government takes a pragmatic approach towards business immigration, rather than a protectionist approach.
In what circumstances is a visa necessary for short-term travellers? How are short-term visas obtained?
Visitors who do not hold a passport from a country referred to in Article 1(2) of EU Regulation 539/2001 require a short-term visa. Visa applications must be lodged pursuant to the Visa Code (EU Regulation 810/2009).
EU Regulation 1155/2019 amending EU Regulation 810/2009 Establishing a Community Code on Visas will apply from 2 February 2020.
In Soufiane El Hassani (C‑403/16), the European Court of Justice held that “in examining a visa application the national authorities have a broad discretion as regards the conditions for applying the grounds of refusal laid down by the Visa Code and the evaluation of the relevant facts”. In his opinion, Advocate General Bobek clearly suggested that “there is no right to a visa under EU law”.Restrictions
What are the main restrictions on a business visitor?
The concept of business visitors must be addressed in the relevant context.
Pursuant to Article 35(2)(e) of the Law of 29 August 2008 (Chapter 3: Third-country nationals right of entry and stay), ‘business activities’ include:
- meeting professional partners;
- prospecting and developing professional contacts;
- negotiating and signing contracts;
- attending fairs and exhibitions;
- attending board of directors’ meetings; and
- the general assembly of companies.
This list is exhaustive; the provision does not include the wording “such as”. Business presence is limited to three months per calendar year.
For EU nationals who are posted in accordance with the EU Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC), a declaration of posting must be made even if the posting is for a short duration. In general, where the provision of services falls under the directive, the obligation to issue a declaration of posting applies (regardless of the duration of stay). Nationals of the other contracting parties of the European Economic Area Agreement (ie, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland are treated as EU nationals.
In the same context, a Portable Document A1 is required for the deployment of any EU or third-country national posted by an undertaking established in the European Economic Area, regardless of the duration (ie, including for business visitors).Short-term training
Is work authorisation or immigration permission needed to give or receive short-term training?
Work authorisation is needed to give or receive short-term training, except where:
- the training relates to the provision of services within the framework of an intra-company transfer (ICT) under the national scheme (maximum three months per calendar year);
- the trainee holds an ICT mobile permit issued by another EU member state, provided that the training does not exceed 90 days in any 180-day period and the conditions set out in Article 47-4 of the Law of 29 August 2008 apply;
- the trainee holds a research permit from another EU member state and the training does not exceed 180 days in any 360-day period (provided that the training relates to the research activity);
- a third-country national employed by an undertaking established in an EEA country or Swiss confederation receives or gives training in Luxembourg. Article 56 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (ie, freedom to provide services) is relevant in this regard. The Vander Est exemption applies (see Joined Cases C-286/82 and C-26/83, Luisi and Carbone  paragraph 16 and C-294/97 Eurowings Luftverkehr, paragraphs 33 and 34).
Are transit visas required to travel through your country? How are these obtained? Are they only required for certain nationals?
Nationals of third countries listed in Annex IV of the Visa Code (EU Regulation 810/2009) must hold an airport transit visa when passing through the international transit areas of airports situated in Luxembourg.
The categories of person exempt from this requirement are set out in Article 3(5) of the Visa Code.
Airport transit visas are issued in accordance with Article 26 of the Visa Code.Visa waivers and fast-track entry
Are any visa waiver or fast-track entry programmes available?
Luxembourg is bound by the EU common visa policy for:
- transit through the country;
- intended stays of no more than 90 days in any 180-day period; and
- transit through the international transit areas of airports located in the country.
The list of visa waiver countries is set out in EU Regulation 539/2001.
Visa facilitation agreements concluded by the European Union are binding on Luxembourg. Fast-track and free-of-charge visas are issued to third-country nationals and family members of EU nationals accompanying or joining the applicant.
Visas for business continuity activities are granted as quickly as possible.
What are the main work and business permit categories used by companies to transfer skilled staff?
Companies established outside the European Union can transfer staff under the following categories:
- intra-corporate transfers (ICTs) under the EU ICT Directive (2014/66/EU), transposed into national legislation by Article 47 of the Law of 29 August 2008, as amended; and
- posting of workers (salaried workers posted under the EU Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC), pursuant to Article 48 of the Law of 29 August 2008).
What are the procedures for obtaining these permissions? At what stage can work begin?
As regards ICT permits, the national legislation has strictly transposed the EU ICT Directive.
Stricter conditions apply to workers posted by a company which was established outside the European Economic Community or Switzerland (in the sense of the EU Posting of Workers Directive). Such workers must have concluded an indefinite period employment contract with their employer at least six months prior to the commencement of the assignment. The posting must take place under a contract for the provision of services concluded between the company making the posting and the recipient of services in Luxembourg.Period of stay
What are the general maximum (and minimum) periods of stay granted under the main categories for company transfers?
The maximum duration of an ICT is three years for managers and specialists and one year for trainee employees. Once the maximum duration of a transfer has passed, six months must elapse before another application concerning the same third-country national can be made.
Residence permits for posted workers are valid only for the duration of the posting (ie, the duration of the provision of services).Processing time
How long does it typically take to process the main categories?
The maximum timeframe is 90 days from the date on which a complete application is lodged. This timeframe is suspended if the authority requires additional documents or information until receipt of such information. A failure to make a decision within the abovementioned timeframe will be considered a rejection.Staff benefits
Is it necessary to obtain any benefits or facilities for staff to secure a work permit?
Any authorisation of stay for a period exceeding 90 days in any 180-day period implies an obligation to have a place of residence in Luxembourg.
Third-country nationals seconded to Luxembourg must have health insurance which covers their health needs. Where the posting country has entered into a bilateral agreement with Luxembourg relating to health insurance or a social security agreement covers health insurance, third-country nationals and family members are, for the entire posting period, entitled to healthcare in Luxembourg at the expense of the posting country. Conversely, they must be affiliated to social security in Luxembourg.
The first part of Article 18(2)(c) of the EU ICT Directive applies to non-mobile ICT permits. For mobile-ICT permits, the second part of Article 18(2)(c) of the EU ICT Directive must be considered in conjunction with Articles 11 to 16 of EU Regulation 883/2004, which applies by virtue of EU Regulation 1231/2010.Assessment criteria
Do the immigration authorities follow objective criteria, or do they exercise discretion according to subjective criteria?
The Luxembourg immigration authorities follow objective criteria to accept or deny applications.High net worth individuals and investors
Is there a special route for high net worth individuals or investors?
This question cannot be addressed in the context of long-term transfers.
The Immigration Law of 29 August 2008 sets out four investment schemes which determine third-country nationals’ right to gain residency in Luxembourg. Real estate investments are expressly excluded.
Own-account investments and investment entities are foreseeable.
Third-country nationals who are eligible for investment schemes will be issued a three-year investor residence permit valid. This permit is renewable under the same conditions.
Hight-net-worth individuals may enforce Article 78(1) of the Immigration Law (authorisation to stay for private reasons).
Is there a special route (including fast track) for high net worth individuals for a residence permission route into your jurisdiction?
There is no fast-track route for high-net-worth individuals.Highly skilled individuals
Is there a special route for highly skilled individuals?
In the context of long-term transfers, intra-corporate transferees (under the EU ICT Directive) must be highly qualified and not just highly skilled. Trainee employees must hold a university degree, whereas managers and experts must provide proof of professional qualifications and experience required by the host entity.
Workers posted under the EU Posting of Workers Directive need not prove their skills or qualifications.
As regards locally hired employees, the following main categories of single permit are issued:
- salaried worker permits – issued where the worker holds an employment contract for a position which was declared vacant to the Agency for Employment Development once the agency has issued the relevant certificate. The applicant must have the appropriate professional qualification to perform the intended activity, which must serve Luxembourg’s economic interests. Such permits are valid for a maximum of one year and can be renewed for a maximum of three years;
- EU Blue Cards – issued to ‘highly qualified workers’ (ie, workers who have entered into an employment contract for a highly qualified job for a minimum of one year, meet the minimum wage threshold set out in national legislation and have the relevant high professional qualifications under Article 45 of the Immigration Law of 29 August 2008). The EU Blue Card is valid for up to four years, unless the employment contract is valid for less than that. In the latter case, the permit is valid for the duration of the employment contract plus three months. The permit can be renewed for a duration of four years or for the duration of the employment contract plus three months; and
- researcher permits – issued in accordance with the EU Students and Researchers Directive (2016/801/EU), transposed into national legislation by the Law of 1 August 2018.
Is there a special route for foreign nationals based on ancestry or descent?
Yes. However, this question is irrelevant in the context of long-term transfers.Minimum salary
Is there a minimum salary requirement for the main categories for company transfers?
The renumeration granted to ICT permit holders must be no less favourable than that granted to Luxembourg nationals who hold a comparable position in accordance with collective agreements or practice.
Regardless of the worker’s nationality or where the company making the posting is established, the remuneration granted to workers who are posted (in the sense of the EU Posting of Workers Directive) must be at least equivalent to the minimum social wage automatically adjusted based on changes in the cost of living (in accordance with Paragraph 2 of Article 141-1 of the Labour Code). Different requirements will apply from 30 July 2020, when EU member states must adopt and publish the laws, regulations and administrative provisions necessary to comply with EU Directive 2019/957.
The national legislation provides for a minimum wage threshold only with regard to highly qualified workers who are hired in Luxembourg under an EU Blue Card.Resident labour market test
Is there a quota system or resident labour market test?
Under the EU ICT Directive, ICT permits are not subject to the labour market test.
Applications which are lodged for third-country nationals temporarily posted in the context of a contract for the provision of services by an undertaking established outside the European Economic Community (EEC) and a recipient of services in Luxembourg (EU Posting of Workers Directive) are, in principle, not subject to the labour market test. However, the undertaking making the posting must invoke exceptional circumstances to show that the labour market will not be affected. The Directorate of Immigration may consult the Commission for Salaried Workers.
Applications under the salaried worker scheme are subject to the labour market test, unless they are lodged for third-country nationals who are being sent to Luxembourg to ensure business continuity.
Applications under the EU Blue Card scheme and applications lodged for seasonal workers and researchers are not subject to the labour market test.Shortage occupations
Is there a special route for shortage occupations?
This question is irrelevant with regard to long-term transfers. However, undertakings established outside of the EEC that post third-country nationals (in the sense of EU Posting of Workers Directive) must invoke exceptional circumstances to show that the local labour market will not be affected.
Under the EU Blue Card scheme, a lower minimum wage threshold applies to third-country nationals working as:
- systems analysts;
- software developers;
- web and multimedia developers;
- application programmers;
- software and application developers and analysts;
- multimedia developers not listed elsewhere;
- database designers and administrators;
- systems administrators;
- computer network professionals; and
- database and network professionals not listed elsewhere.
Are there any other main eligibility requirements to qualify for work permission in your jurisdiction?
As regards ICT permits, the EU ICT Directive has been literally transposed into national legislation. As such, in order to be transferred within the same undertaking or group of undertakings, managers and specialists must have been employed for between three and 12 uninterrupted months immediately preceding the date of the transfer. Trainee employees must have been employed for between three and six uninterrupted months.
Third-country nationals, employed by an undertaking established outside of the EEC, who are posted (in the sense of the EU Posting of Workers Directive) must have concluded an indefinite term employment contract with their employer at least six months prior to the commencement of the assignment.
Other criteria regarding specific permissions must also be addressed.Third-party contractors
What is the process for third-party contractors to obtain work permission?
Self-employed individuals who meet the eligibility criteria set out in Article 51(1) of the Immigration Law of 29 August 2008 will be issued a residence permit for self-employed workers.
Articles 49 and 54 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union apply to third-party contractors established in an EEC member state with regard to the right of establishment in Luxemburg, while Articles 56 and 57 of the treaty, and the European Court of Justice settled case law, apply with regard to the freedom to provide services.Recognition of foreign qualifications
Is an equivalency assessment or recognition of skills and qualifications required to obtain immigration permission?
The Law of 28 October 2016 amending the Law of 19 June 1999, implementing the EU Recognition of Professional Qualification Directive (2005/36/EC) (the Professional Qualification Recognition Law), sets out the conditions for recognising professional qualifications. The law applies to nationals of other EEC member states and to third-country national beneficiaries covered by the EU Long-Term Residents Directive (2003/109/EC) and the EU Citizens’ Rights Directive (2004/38/EC) who wish to pursue a regulated profession in Luxembourg.
Extensions and variationsShort-term to long-term status
Can a short-term visa be converted in-country into longer-term authorisations? If so, what is the process?
Short-stay visas (C visas) issued under the EU Visa Code (EU Regulation 810/2009) cannot be converted into residence permits.
As regards whether third-country nationals may convert short-stay visas into long-stay visas in Luxembourg, in principle, third-country nationals cannot enter Luxembourg before the issuance of a temporary authorisation of stay.
Article 39(2) of the Immigration Law of 29 August 2008 provides for the possibility for short-stay status to be converted to long-stay status, where returning to the individual’s home country would constitute an exceptional burden.
Seasonal workers and holders of intra-company transfer permits issued by another EU member state can switch from a short-stay status to a long-stay status.
It must be noted that if reasonable doubts exist as to whether the applicant intends to leave Luxembourg before their visa expires, the visa may be refused (see Article 32(1)(b) of the EU Visa Code and the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ’s) ruling in X and X, C-638/16, paragraph 46).Long-term extension
Can long-term immigration permission be extended?
Yes – residence permits can be extended, but the specific length depends on the permit in question.Exit and re-entry
What are the rules on and implications of exit and re-entry for work permits?
As a rule, foreign nationals who intend to leave Luxembourg for more than six months must return their residence permit and make a declaration of departure at the administration of the commune where they resided.
However, the right of absence must be ascertained considering the type of residence permit and the scope of the assessment.Permanent residency and citizenship
How can immigrants qualify for permanent residency or citizenship?
Third-country nationals are eligible for long-term resident status after five years of lawful and uninterrupted stay, provided that the other eligibility criteria set out in national legislation are met.
Posted workers, seasonal workers and workers transferred to Luxembourg are not eligible for permanent residency.
EU nationals are eligible for long-term resident status after five years of lawful and uninterrupted stay, provided that they have stable and regular resources which are sufficient to maintain a lifestyle for themselves and their dependant family members without recourse to the Luxembourg social assistance system. In certain situations, EU nationals are eligible for such status before five years of lawful and uninterrupted stay in Luxembourg. Nationals of the other contracting parties of the European Economic Area Agreement (ie, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland are treated as EU nationals.
In X (C-302/18) the ECJ delivered a landmark judgment on the interpretation of the concept of ‘resources’ in the context of third-country nationals’ right to long-term resident status. The court ruled that the origin of resources is not a decisive criterion for EU member states for the purpose of ascertaining whether they are stable, regular and sufficient. However, “the legally binding nature of a commitment of cost bearing by a third party or a member of the applicant’s family, may be an important factor”.
As regards citizenship, please refer to the Law of 8 March 8 2017 on Luxembourgish Nationality.End of employment
Must immigration permission be cancelled at the end of employment in your jurisdiction?
This will depend on the immigration permission in place.Employee restrictions
Are there any specific restrictions on a holder of employment permission?
This will depend on the employment permission in place.
Who qualifies as a dependant?
With regard to family members accompanying or joining third-country nationals, the following qualify as ‘dependants’ for immigration purposes:
- a spouse or partner with whom a third-country national has contracted a registered partnership in accordance with the formal and substantive conditions set out by the Law of 9 July 2004, as amended; and
- unmarried descendants of a third-country national or those of their spouse or partner who are under the age of 18. As regards the descendants of a spouse or partner, the latter must have custody of the descendants; in case of shared custody, the other parent’s consent is required.
Direct relatives in the ascending line and those of a third-country national’s spouse or partner can be authorised to enter and stay in Luxembourg if they are economically dependent on the third-country national, opening the right to family reunification.
Descendants and those of a third-country national’s spouse or partner who are over the age of 18 and unmarried can be authorised to enter and stay in Luxembourg if they are unable to provide for themselves due to health reasons.
More favourable conditions are provided for EU nationals and third-country nationals who are family members (or ‘other family members’) of EU nationals.
Dependants who qualify as ‘family member of EU nationals’ under national legislation and, where relevant, European Court of Justice case law, may accompany or join the EU national in Luxembourg, regardless of their nationality.
The following categories of third-country national can be accompanied or immediately joined by a spouse or registered recognised partner or unmarried descendants under the age of 18:
- EU Blue Cards holders;
- intra-corporate transfer permit holders;
- researchers; and
- holders of long-term residence permits issued by another EU member state (in the sense of the EU Long-Term Residents Directive (2003/109/EC)) if the family was constituted in the other member state.
Other third-country nationals can be joined by the dependants referred to above only if the former holds a residence permit valid for a minimum duration of one year and has reasonable prospects of obtaining the right to a long-term stay.
Only third-country nationals who have lawfully resided in Luxembourg for at least 12 months can be joined by direct relatives in the ascending line and descendants over the age of 18. More favourable treatment is foreseeable if the third-country national holds a long-term residence permit from another EU member state and the family was constituted in that member state.
The maximum timeframe provided for by national legislation for the issuance of an authorisation of stay for family reunification is nine months (longer in exceptional circumstances). In practice, the timeframe is shorter. Authorisations of stay for family members of EU Blue Card holders must be granted within six months from the application’s submission (where the conditions provided for by law are met).
Authorisations of stay for family members of ICT permit holders must be granted within 90 days of the application’s submission (where the conditions provided for by law are met). The applications lodged for the transferee and their family members are handled simultaneously if lodged simultaneously.
Residence permits issued to dependants of third-country nationals (so-called ‘family member permits’) are valid for one year and can be renewed under the same conditions.
Residence permits issued to family members of EU Blue Cards and ICT permit holders are valid for the same period as the employee’s permit.
Nationals of the other contracting parties of the European Economic Area Agreement (ie, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland are treated as EU nationals.
In regard to particular cases, European Court of Justice case law must be considered, including:
- Rozanne Banger (C89/17) – unregistered partners of returning EU citizens;
- Toufik Lounes (C-165/16) – family members of dual EU citizens; and
- HC Chavez-Vilchez (C-133/15) – parents of minor EU nationals.
Are dependants automatically allowed to work or attend school?
Family members of EU nationals have unrestricted access to the Luxembourg labour market if they accompany or join the latter in Luxembourg or if the latter resides in another EU member state but works in Luxembourg.
Nationals of the other contracting parties of the European Economic Area Agreement (ie, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland are treated as EU nationals.
Other third-country nationals who hold a family member residence permit have access to the labour market but must obtain the relevant authorisation (in the capacity of an employed or self-employed worker). Such permits determine, among other things, the holder’s right to education, training and vocational training.Access to social benefits
What social benefits are dependants entitled to?
Access to social benefits by family members of third-country nationals is governed by:
- Article 12.2(e) of the EU Single Permit Directive (2011/98/EU) with regard to dependants of salaried workers;
- Article 14.1(e) of EU Blue Card Directive (2009/50/EC) with regard to dependants of EU Blue Card holders,
- Article 11(d) of the EU Long-Term Resident Directive (2003/109/EC) with regard to dependants of third-country nationals who are long-term residents;
- Paragraph 1, Article 18.2(c) of the EU ICT Directive (2014/66/EU) with regard to dependants of intra-corporate transferees; and
- Paragraph 2, Article 18.2(c) of the EU ICT Directive within the context of intra-EU mobility.
EU nationals’ access to social benefits is governed by the social security coordination regulations (EU Regulations 883/2004 and 987/2009).
Access to social benefits in Luxembourg has given rise to significant judicial debate, including the recent European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling in EU v Caisse pour l’avenir des enfants (C-801/18) and the questions referred to the ECJ by the High Council of Social Security for preliminary ruling in FV, GW (C-802/18).
Other requirements, restrictions and penaltiesCriminal convictions
Are prior criminal convictions a barrier to obtaining immigration permission?
Third-country nationals must demonstrate that they have a clean police record in most immigration procedures.Penalties for non-compliance
What are the penalties for companies and individuals for non-compliance with immigration law? How are these applied in practice?
Articles L.572-4 to L.572-10 of the Labour Code provide for administrative and criminal penalties for the illegal employment of third-country nationals. Other penalties (eg, professional prohibition and closure of the establishment) may also apply.
Article L.143-2 of the Labour Code provides for administrative fines for breaching the rules governing the posting of workers in Luxembourg.
Chapter 7 of the Immigration Law of 29 August 2008 provides for administrative and criminal penalties for illegal entry and stay in Luxembourg.Language requirements
Are there any minimum language requirements for migrants?
No – employees need not demonstrate language proficiency. However, applicants for long-term resident status must bring proof of integration.Medical screening
Is medical screening required to obtain immigration permission?
In Luxembourg, new hires must undergo a medical check, regardless of their nationality. All third-country nationals must undergo a medical check in Luxembourg as a prerequisite to having their residence permit approved.Secondment
Is there a specific procedure for employees on secondment to a client site in your jurisdiction?
The situation in question will generally constitute hiring out of workers by a company which is not a temporary work agency. Such situations are regulated by Articles L 132-1 to L -132.4 and L-133.1 to L-133-3 of the Labour Code. The lease of labour by a company which is not a temporary work agency (when permitted) must be on a non-profit making basis.
Update and trendsKey developments of the past year
Are there any emerging trends or hot topics in corporate immigration regulation in your jurisdiction?
On 11 April 2019 the Law of 8 April 2019 amending the Law of 29 August 2008 on Freedom of Movement and Immigration (the so-called ‘Brexit law’) was published in the Official Gazette.
Law stated dateCorrect on
Give the date on which the information above is accurate.
15 October 2019.