New entry and residence rules will make European universities even more attractive for ambitious and highly educated students and researchers from other countries.
New visa rules passed this month by the European Parliament will open up expanded post-study work and residency options for non-EU students in Europe.
The new rules merge two existing directives (one on students and one on researchers) to 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, they will not need to file a new visa application, but only 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.
The Visa Directive (formally “Directive 2004/114”) is the legislative instrument that sets out the conditions under which non-EU nationals can enter the European Union to study, conduct research, volunteer, or take up internships or au-pair assignments.
The process of crafting the amendments passed this month dates back to 2013. It has been driven by a recognition that visa regulations have been implemented unevenly across the EU – thus the need to streamline and harmonise regulations among member states – but also by a need for Europe to more effectively compete for talent.
The new Visa Directive also seeks to harmonise visa regulations across EU member states, and to improve mobility within Europe for non-EU students and researchers.
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.