Press Release

European Union agrees on new Visa rules for students, interns and researchers

20. 11. 2016

The European Youth Forum welcomes the agreement reached by the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on the Visa Directive (announced on 17th November) establishing rules that aim to make it more attractive for non-EU students, researchers and interns to enter the EU. It is disappointed, however, by its lack of ambition and is concerned that it falls short of expectations.

The European Youth Forum is pleased that a decision has finally been made on these Visa rules, which have still to be approved by the Parliament and the Council of Ministers as a whole. It is particularly pleased to note the provisions on intra-EU mobility in the agreement. This will now allow students and researchers to move within the EU during their stay by simply notifying the member state to which they are moving instead of having to submit a new visa application – positive news for young non-EU students wanting to do a semester in another EU country, for example.

However, the Youth Forum is disappointed to see the lack of ambition in the Directive, primarily in its limited scope. The Forum has been calling for volunteers and pupils to be a mandatory part of the new rules. Volunteers and pupils from the rest of the world are a key asset to the EU and excluding them from the Directive means that they cannot benefit from uniform conditions to enter Europe. Whilst it is a positive step that European Voluntary Service (EVS) volunteers and interns are groups that are mandatory in the Directive, the Youth Forum believes that by not including all volunteers and pupils, the EU has missed a big opportunity.

The Youth Forum looks forward to the publication of the final legislation, and hopes to see that the technicalities of Visa application procedures, such as fees and waiting times, are in favour of young applicants and contribute to making the EU an easier place to study, learn and volunteer.

Luis Alvarado-Martinez, Vice President of the European Youth Forum, said:

“It is now, more than ever, important to realise the value of young people from all over the world coming into Europe, sharing experiences, and learning from each others’ cultures. The new rules are a step, but they will unfortunately still present barriers preventing young people’s freedom of movement. ”

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