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New EU rules to attract non EU students & researchers

12 May 2016, 15:38 CET
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New EU rules to attract non EU students & researchers

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(STRASBOURG) - Harmonised EU entry and residence rules were approved by the European Parliament Wednesday, making it easier and more attractive for people from third countries to study or do research at EU universities.

The harmonised rules, which merge two existing directives (one on students and one on researchers), clarify and improve conditions for non-EU interns, volunteers, school pupils and au pairs. They  ensure that:

  • students and researchers may stay at least nine months after finishing their studies or research in order to look for a job or to set up a business, which should also ensure that Europe benefits from their skills,
  • students and researchers may move more easily within the EU during their stay. In future, this will save them from having to make a new visa application, so that they only have to notify the member state to which they are moving, for example to do a one-semester exchange. Researchers will also be able to move for longer periods than those currently allowed,
  • researchers have the right to bring their family members with them and these family members are entitled to work during their stay in Europe, and
  • students have the right to work at least 15 hours a week.

Parliamentary rapporteur Cecilia Wikstroem MEP said: "I am glad that the EU recognizes the value of attracting highly skilled people to come here and to entice them to stay by creating a harmonized European system applicable in all member states."

"This undoubtedly means that European universities will be able to strengthen their competitiveness on the global arena and become more attractive than ever to ambitious and highly-educated people from other countries, thanks to considerably improved conditions in the EU", she added.

The new directive also provides for uniform entry conditions and better protection for interns and volunteers under the European Volunteer Scheme during their stay. Optional provisions are foreseen for other volunteers, school pupils and third-country au pairs, who will be covered for the first time by an EU law.

Next steps

The directive enters into force the day after its publication in the European Official Journal. Member states will then have two years in which to transpose its provisions into their national laws.

Further information, European Parliament

Adopted text (A8-0166/2016) will soon be available here (click on 11 May 2016)

EP Research note on foreign students and researchers: new rules for mobility


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