In 2018, Luxembourg received 22 000 new immigrants on a long-term or permanent basis (including changes of status and free mobility), 0.6% more than in 2017. This figure comprises 76.5% immigrants benefitting from free mobility, 8.2% labour migrants, 9.2% family members (including accompanying family) and 5.6% humanitarian migrants. Around 300 permits were issued to tertiary-level international students and 1 400 to temporary and seasonal labour migrants (excluding intra-EU migration). In addition, 36 000 intra-EU postings were recorded in 2018, an increase of 11.7% compared to 2017. These posted workers are generally on short-term contracts.

France, Portugal and Italy were the top three nationalities of newcomers in 2018. Among the top 15 countries of origin, Portugal registered the strongest increase (200) and France the largest decrease (-200) in flows to Luxembourg compared to the previous year.

In 2019, the number of first asylum applicants decreased by -1.1%, to reach around 2 200. The majority of applicants came from Eritrea (600), Syria (400) and Afghanistan (200). The largest increase since 2018 concerned nationals of Eritrea (+200) and the largest decrease nationals of Georgia (-100). Of the 1 200 decisions taken in 2019, 56.8% were positive.

Following parliamentary elections in October 2018, the government set new targets regarding immigration, international protection, integration and international cooperation. The objectives of the coalition agreement include shorter processing times for immigration applications through the simplification and digitalisation of administrative procedures, the preservation of free movement of people in the Schengen area, supported by improved external border management, the introduction of a new status for British citizens after Brexit, as well as continued measures against illegal immigration and the return of illegal residents to their countries of origin.

In January 2020, a new Reception Office (Office National de l’Accueil – ONA) was created under the authority of the Minister of Immigration and Asylum. The ONA replaces the Luxembourg Reception and Integration Agency. Simultaneously, a new Department of Integration was created within the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region.

Regarding international students, the number of hours they may work during their studies was increased from 10 to 15 hours per week. Additionally, they may stay nine months after completing their studies or research activities in order to find a job or start a business. They are also allowed to move around the EU more easily during their stay and the category of trainee has been reviewed to broaden the scope in which a student or a young graduate may gain initial professional experience. Finally, processing times have been reduced from 90 to 60 days, or in some cases 30 days.

Agreements with Chile, Chinese Taipei and Canada were signed to introduce a working holiday visa for young adults between 18 and 30 years. This visa, which is valid for a period of 12 consecutive months, allows the holder to re-enter or leave the country several times. Visa holders cannot be granted permission to extend their stay beyond this period.

In terms of integration policy, the National Action Plan on Integration adopted in 2018 is based on the principles of shared responsibility of all actors, with a special emphasis on the local level. It stresses the importance of quality measures and their evaluation. Integration programmes, such as the Guided Integration Trail (Parcours d’Intégration Accompagné – PIA) and the Welcome and integration contract (Contrat d’Accueil et d’Intégration – CAI) remain prominent components.

In July 2018, an amendment to the 2017 law on Luxembourg nationality was passed. Descendants of Luxembourgers who lost their citizenship and who can claim a direct maternal or paternal ancestor of Luxembourgish nationality can now claim citizenship.

Luxembourg also strengthened its fight against the exploitation of prostitution and the procurement and trafficking of human beings for sexual purposes. Since February 2018, a new law prevents victims of sexual exploitation from being criminally responsible for a solicitation offence.

During the lockdown from mid-March to mid-May, the essential desks dealing with migration and asylum procedures managed to remain open. The validity of selected visas, which expired on 1st March 2020, has been extended. This concerns long- and short-stay visas, authorisations for temporary stay, as well as residence cards and permits.

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