In May 2016, the European Parliament, under my leadership, adopted new rules that provide students and researchers from non-EU member states with better living and working conditions when they come to the EU.
I led the long process of many trilogue negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, and the European Commission and am pleased that the Directive wasadopted. This means that the Member States realize the value of attracting highly trained people to join the EU, and hopefully they will also be able to stay in the union and find a job after completion of their education or research assignments.
The Directive aims at creating a harmonised European system that applies in all Member States.
This undoubtedly means that our European universities strengthen their competitiveness in the global arena and become more attractive than ever for ambitious and highly educated people from other countries.
Now students, researchers and their family members enjoy considerably improved conditions during their stay in the EU.
In the long run, the new law means that researchers at European universities will strengthen the EU’s academic status and contribute to the economic development of the European Union. Well-educated people are needed to create jobs, entrepreneurship, innovations and economic growth.
The goal must be to make the EU a world center for studies and research. The role model is of course the United States, which year after year wins more Nobel Prizes than any other country, and whose universities are by far the highest ranked in the world.
By making the EU attractive to talented, ambitious and highly educated people, we will not only win more Nobel Prizes, we will also be able to strengthen our welfare. In some professions, it is already difficult for companies to find skilled labor. With the great demographic challenge that the EU is facing, where we are getting fewer people of working age in relation to the growing number of elderly, it will be impossible to maintain today’s welfare levels if the development is not reversed.
Better work permits and living conditions for those students and researchers from non-EU countries who want to come here, or who already are here, help to strengthen the EU’s international competitiveness in the global academic sphere.
– Students and researchers get more access to the labour market and are entitled to work at least 15 hours a week in addition to their studies or research.
– Students and researchers may move between member states while staying here, without having to obtain a visa when traveling to another member state.
– Students and researchers are allowed to stay in the member state for at least nine months after completing studies to start a business or get a job.
– Researchers’ family members now have the opportunity to move and work in the current member state.
– The conditions for entry and residence permits for foreign trainees (paid and unpaid), volunteers and au pairs are also considerably simplified.