On Friday 4th of December, Justice and Home Affairs Ministers agreed on common new entrance and residency rules for third-country national students, researchers and trainees and for volunteers who come to the EU under the European Voluntary Service (EVS) scheme.
The Directive also provides that Member States are free to apply the rules to school pupils, volunteers coming to the EU outside the EVS scheme and, for the first time at EU level, au-pairs.
Migration and Home Affairs Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos said: "I am very pleased with today's political agreement on modernising EU-wide rules for welcoming talents from abroad. For the first time, we will also have common immigration rules across the EU for trainees and volunteers who participate in projects funded by the European Voluntary Service. While we are focused on addressing the current refugee crisis, today’s agreement shows that the EU is not losing sight of legal migration channels. This legal path can help to divert people away from irregular migration channels. Hosting more students and researchers is good for the EU economy, promoting more contacts between young people from different educational and research cultures."
The new Directive will cover admission conditions, rights and intra-EU mobility of the groups concerned. The new rules will also make it easier to retain these talented people and their skills in the EU economy. Students and researchers will be able to stay for 9 months after their graduation or research project to look for a job or set up a business in Europe. The decision to grant access to the labour market remains a national competence. The reformed rules are an important part of the EU’s overall migration policy, aiming at a well-managed system for legal migration across the EU.
As announced in the European Agenda on Migration, the Commission plans to present a comprehensive legal migration package in March 2016.