The European Union is planning to harmonise entry and residence rules for non-EU students and researchers in its quest to attract top talent from around the world. The new rules, agreed upon informally among MEPs and Council Ministers earlier this month, would improve conditions for non-EU nationals pursuing studies or research in the EU by easing their movement within the Union and ensuring their equal access to the labour market in all member states.
By merging two existing directives, one on students and one on researchers, the proposed rules will ensure that:
- students and researchers will be permitted to stay in the EU for a period of at least nine months after graduating or finishing their research in order to look for a job or start their own business, meaning that the decision to extend the visa in these cases will no longer be in the hands of the member states;
- students and researchers will no longer be required to submit a new visa application when they are moving from one member state to another, for instance for the purpose of a semester exchange, and will instead only have to notify the member state to which they are moving;
- researchers will be able to bring their family members with them, who will also have the right move within the EU with them and work during their stay; and
- students will be allowed to work at least 15 hours per week, an increase from the current maximum of 10 hours.
The deal on uniform rules will have to be formally approved by the Civil Liberties Committee, the European Parliament as a whole and the Council of Ministers before it can enter into force as a directive.
Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament