The Convention aims to improve integration of foreign residents into the life of the community. It applies to all persons who are not nationals of the Party and who are lawfully resident on its territory.
The Convention provides that the Parties 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 resident 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.