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Migration and Home Affairs

Seasonal workers Directive

EU economies face a structural need for seasonal work, which is not entirely met by EU workers.

There is also evidence that some non-EU seasonal workers face exploitation and sub-standard working conditions and that those sectors where there is a strong presence of seasonal workers (notably agriculture, horticulture and tourism) are most likely to recruit non-EU nationals who are irregularly staying and/or working in the EU.

These elements led the European Parliament and the Council to adopt, on 26 February 2014, the Seasonal workers Directive.

Legal framework

Seasonal workers Directive sets the conditions of entry and stay of non-EU nationals for the purpose of employment as seasonal workers.

More information on the key provisions of the directive is available in the Summary of EU legislation – Seasonal workers Directive.


  • ensure fair and transparent rules for admission of non-EU seasonal workers
  • ensure decent working and living conditions and equal rights for those workers
  • prevent that non-EU seasonal workers stay/work in the EU without authorisation
  • make it easier for those workers to come back for seasonal work in the EU in following years

Policy timeline

  • 2014
    Seasonal workers Directive (2014/36/EU) is adopted.
  • 2010
    Proposal for a Directive of the European parliament ond of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of seasonal employment. Executive Summary and Impact assessment to the proposal.