News Archive

European Parliament approves the Visa Directive

May 12, 2016

In yesterday’s (11 May) Plenary the European Parliament approved the Visa Directive for entry of third-country nationals for the purpose of research or study into the EU. For many years, the European Youth Forum and its member organisations have been campaigning for free movement within the EU for young people from non- EU countries. We believe that the mobility of young people is a vital contribution to intercultural understanding, which can also play a key role in creating social, cultural and economic links between the EU and other countries and regions.

The Visa Directive agreed in Parliament yesterday is one step towards this. The Directive will make it easier for students and researchers to move within the EU during their stay. Under the new rules, they will have to notify only the member state to which they are moving, for example to do a one-semester exchange, instead of having to submit a new visa application as is the case today. Furthermore, students and researchers will have the right to 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.

The new directive also has provisions for interns and volunteers under the European Volunteer Scheme (EVS), who will benefit from uniform conditions to enter Europe and increased protection once there. However it is lacking in its provisions for non-EVS volunteers, and pupils. These provisions are not binding: the European Youth Forum urges Member States to ensure that they implement these optional provision for volunteers and pupils. Volunteering or taking part in a school exchange in the EU fosters a spirit of intercultural learning and understanding  amongst young people across the world – crucial in ensuring European values of tolerance, respect and non-discrimination. 

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With the support of
The European Commission
The European Youth Foundation of the Council of Europe