Working in Luxembourg as a third-country national and cross-border worker

This page was last modified on 11-07-2016

Third-country nationals legally resident in an EU Member State or in a country treated as such (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland) and wishing to work in Luxembourg without residing there must, in principle, have a work permit before commencing work in Luxembourg.

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Who is concerned

Third-country nationals (excluding EU Member States and countries treated as such – Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) with leave to remain in another EU Member State or a country treated as such and who wish to work in Luxembourg without residing there must apply for a work permit.

Third-country nationals who are the spouse, registered partner or child of a citizen of an EU Member State or a country treated as such (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland) already working in Luxembourg do not require a work permit. A work permit exemption must be requested.

Prerequisites

Third-country nationals legally resident in another EU Member State or a country treated as such (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland) will be subject to the labour market test: the employer declares the vacant position with the National Employment Agency (Agence pour le développement de l'emploi – ADEM) , so that it can check whether the vacant position can be filled by an individual available on the national or European labour market.

Highly qualified employees will not be subject to the labour market test, but the employer must still declare the vacant position.

In this context, highly qualified workers are third-country nationals who:

  • present an employment contract for a highly qualified position with a term of a year or more;
  • present a document proving that they possess the high professional qualifications required for the activity or sector mentioned in the employment contract, or that they meet the requirements to carry out the regulated profession indicated in the employment contract;
  • receive a salary at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary, or 1.2 times the average gross annual salary for some specific professions.

If ADEM is unable to offer a candidate with the desired profile within 3 weeks, the employer may ask ADEM to provide a certificate allowing them to recruit the individual of their choice.

The employer must sign a contract with the third-country national. The contract may include a let-out clause specifying that the employment contract will not take effect until the work permit has been obtained.

The employer must provide the original ADEM certificate to the third-country national, who must enclose it with their work permit application.

How to proceed

Work permit application

Before commencing work in Luxembourg, third-country nationals must make a written application for a work permit to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Applicants must indicate their surname(s) and first name(s) as well as their exact address in their country of residence. They must also enclose the following with their application:

  • a certified copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
  • a copy of any temporary authorisation to stay issued by an EU Member State or country treated as such (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland);
  • a recent household composition certificate or recent certificate of residence from their country of residence;
  • a CV;
  • a certified copy of the applicant's diplomas or professional qualifications;
  • a copy of the employment contract compliant with Luxembourg labour law, dated and signed by both the applicant and their employer;
  • the original, recent certificate issued by ADEM authorising the employer to recruit the individual of their choice for the declared vacancy;
  • a covering letter to support the application;
  • where applicable, a recent certificate of affiliation to the Luxembourg Joint Social Security Centre for the spouse/registered partner or the ascendant (parent);
  • where necessary, a proxy.
    Proxy: third-country nationals may mandate a third party (e.g. the future employer) to submit the application in their place. In this case, the proxy holder, with the exception of attorneys, must provide proof of their mandate in the form of a written power of attorney, duly dated and signed by the principal. The signature must be preceded by the handwritten note "bon pour procuration" ("good for proxy").

The documents enclosed must be originals or certified true copies. Should the authenticity of a document be in doubt, the Minister of Immigration can request that the document be authenticated by the appropriate local authority and legalised by the Embassy (or alternatively notarised with a Hague apostille).

If the documents are not drawn up in German, French or English, an official translation by a sworn translator must be attached.

Only complete applications will be processed. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant.

The time required for a response from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is generally a maximum of 3 months. If no response is sent within this time, the application has been rejected.

Work permit application for highly qualified workers

In this context, highly qualified workers are third-country nationals who:

  • can present an employment contract with a term of a year or more;
  • can present a document proving that they possess the high professional qualifications required for the activity or sector mentioned in the employment contract, or that they meet the requirements to carry out the regulated profession indicated in the employment contract;
  • receive a salary of at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary (EUR 73,296 in 2016) or at least equivalent to 1.2 times the Luxembourg average gross annual salary (EUR 58,636.80 in 2016) for work in one of the professions for which the government has noticed a particular need for third-country nationals.

Before commencing work in Luxembourg, third-country nationals must submit a written application for a work permit to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs.

Applicants must indicate their surname(s) and first name(s) as well as their exact address in their country of residence. They must also enclose the following with their application:

  • a certified copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
  • a copy of a temporary authorisation to stay issued by an EU Member State or country treated as such (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland);
  • a recent household composition certificate or recent certificate of residence from their country of residence;
  • a CV;
  • a certified copy of the applicant's diplomas or professional qualifications;
  • a copy of the employment contract compliant with Luxembourg labour law, dated and signed by both the applicant and their employer, indicating a salary at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary or at least 1.2 times the Luxembourg average gross annual salary for work in one of the professions for which the government has noticed a particular need to employ third-country nationals, and with a term of a year or more;
  • a covering letter to support the application;
  • where necessary, a proxy.
    Proxy: third-country nationals may appoint a third party to submit the application in their place. In this case, the proxy holder, with the exception of attorneys, must provide proof of their mandate in the form of a written power of attorney, duly dated and signed by the principal. The signature must be preceded by the handwritten note "bon pour procuration" ("good for proxy").

The documents enclosed must be originals or certified true copies. Should the authenticity of a document be in doubt, the Minister of Immigration can request that the document be authenticated by the appropriate local authority and legalised by the Embassy (or alternatively notarised with a Hague apostille).

If the documents are not drawn up in German, French or English, a certified true translation by a sworn translator must be enclosed.

Only complete applications will be processed. Incomplete applications will be returned to the applicant.

The time required for a response from the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs is generally a maximum of 3 months. If no response is received within this time, the application has been rejected.

If the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs requests additional documentation to be provided within a specific deadline to process the application, the initial three-month deadline will be suspended until the additional documentation has been provided. If the applicant fails to provide the additional information or documentation requested before the deadline set by the Ministry, the application may be automatically rejected.

Work permits are issued for performing one profession in one sector with any employer. This restriction applies for the first year. A change of sector or profession is subject to the approval of the Ministry responsible for immigration.

Validity and renewal of work permits

Work permit validity period

A work permit is valid from the date on which the application was approved. The permit may be renewed on request provided that all the eligibility requirements are still met and the beneficiary can prove that they actually worked while their work permit was valid.

The initial work permit is valid:

  • for a maximum of one year (without extending beyond the validity period of the residence permit);
  • for one profession only with any employer;
  • in only one sector.

The sector and profession for which the third-country national is authorised to work are indicated on the residence permit under the field "observations" in the form of an "ISCO" code.

This is a three-digit code representing the profession for which the access to the job market is granted, defined according to the ISCO classification (International Standard Classification of Occupations). The ISCO classification is an international classification of professions developed by the International Labour Organization.

The complete list of ISCO codes is available online

A change of sector and/or profession is only possible if authorised by the Minister of Foreign and European Affairs.

Change of activity: in order to be authorised to fill another position which does not meet the conditions of higher professional qualification, the third-country national must start the procedure again and submit an application for third-country worker.

Work permit renewal

From the first renewal, a work permit can be renewed for a maximum of 3 years and gives access to any sector and any profession.

However, if the permit holder cannot prove that they have actually worked during the validity period of the work permit, or the renewal of the work permit occurs during a period when they are receiving unemployment benefits, the work permit will only be renewed for a maximum of one year.

Renewal procedure

In order to renew a work permit, third-country nationals must apply to the Immigration Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs in the 2 months prior to the expiry date of the work permit.

The application for renewal must be accompanied by the following documents:

  • a certified copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
  • a copy of the employment contract compliant with Luxembourg labour law, dated and signed by both the applicant and their employer (for a highly qualified worker): indicating a salary at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary or at least 1.2 times the average gross annual salary for some professions;
  • a recent certificate of affiliation to the Luxembourg Joint Social Security Centre including all the salaried worker's affiliations to date;
  • a copy of any temporary authorisation to stay issued by the EU Member State where the applicant resides, or a copy of the receipt for the renewal request for the temporary authorisation to stay;
  • a recent residence certificate (less than 3 months old) for the country of residence.

Loss, theft or damage to the permit

In the event of loss or theft of the work permit, the third-country national must submit an application for replacement and enclose:

  • a certified copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
  • the declaration of theft/loss established by the police.

In the event of damage to the work permit, the third-country national must submit an application for replacement and enclose:

  • a certified copy of their valid passport, in its entirety;
  • the damaged work permit.

Who to contact

Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs
26, route d'Arlon
L-1140 - Luxembourg
Postal box B.P. 752 L-2017
Luxembourg
Phone: (+352) 247-84040 (from 14.00 to 16.00)
Fax: (+352) 22 16 08
Email immigration.public@mae.etat.lu

Opening hours
Monday to Friday from 08.30 - 12.00