Update: 12.05.2014

European Conventions in the Realm of Migration

European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers

Official Text: English 

The European Convention on the Legal Status of Migrant Workers was opened to signature by the member states of the Council of Europe on 24 November 1977. The aim of the Convention is to regulate the legal status of migrant workers so as to ensure that as far as possible they are treated at least equally with national workers as regards living and working conditions and to promote the social advancement and wellbeing of migrant workers and members of their families. The Convention accordingly forms a framework agreement dealing with the most important aspects of migrant workers' legal status, but without attempting to regulate in detail all those aspects. 


European Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level

Official Text: English

The Convention on the Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level was opened for signature on 5 February 1992 and came into force on 1 May 1997. Its aim is to improve integration of foreign residents into the life of the community. It applies to all persons who are not nationals of the state party and who are lawful resident on its territory.

The Convention provides that states undertake to guarantee to foreign residents, on the same terms as to its own nationals, the classical rights of freedom of expression, assembly and association, including the right to form trade unions. Moreover, the parties will make efforts to involve foreign residents in processes of consultation on local matters. Under some conditions provided by law, the rights of freedom of expression and of assembly may be restricted.

The Convention opens the possibility of creating consultative bodies at local level elected by the foreign residents in the local authority area or appointed by individual associations of foreign residents.

The Convention provides also that the parties may undertake to grant to every foreign residents the right to vote in local elections, after five years of lawful and habitual residence in the host country, and to stand for election.

The parties are to inform foreign residents about their rights and obligations in relation to local public life. Parties to the Convention must keep the Secretary General of the Council of Europe informed about developments in the participation of foreign nationals in local public life. 

European Convention on Nationality

Official Text: English

The European Convention on Nationality came into force on 1 March 2000. This Convention is designed to make acquisition of a new nationality and recovery of a former one easier. It also ensures that nationality is lost only for good reason and cannot be arbitrarily withdrawn, as through nationality many other rights stem. It guarantees that the procedures governing applications for nationality are just, fair and open to appeal, and regulates the situation of persons in danger of being left stateless as a result of state succession. It also covers multiple nationality, military obligations and co-operation between states parties.

Some of the essential principles behind the Convention are:

  • the prevention of statelessness;
  • non-discrimination: in regulating questions of nationality, states must avoid all discrimination on grounds of sex, religion, race, colour, national or ethnic origin, etc.
  • respect for the rights of persons habitually resident on the territories concerned.

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