European Union: EU moves to harmonize regulations for non-EU students and researchers

The European Union has adopted rules that will make it easier for non-EU students, researchers and their families to enter, remain and work in most EU countries. Denmark, Ireland and the United Kingdom are not part of the agreement.

What does the change mean? The directive instructs all opted-in EU countries to ensure that their national laws comply with the new regulations within two years. Under the new rules, non-EU students and researchers will be allowed to remain in the EU for nine months after completing their coursework or research and will be afforded greater mobility within the EU without having to apply for a new student or researcher visa each time. Family members will be permitted to work and reside in Europe during a researcher’s stay. Students will be permitted to work for at least 15 hours per week.

  • Implementation time frame: Ongoing. EU member states have until May 21, 2018 to incorporate the rules into their national laws.
  • Who is affected: Non-EU students and researchers studying or working in mainland Europe.
  • Impact on processing times: Non-EU students, researchers and their families should save time if they are relocating within the EU because they should be exempted from multiple work permit or visa requirements following an initial grant.
  • Business impact: The changes will benefit individuals, universities and other research institutions, including private-sector companies that engage in research, provided they are identified as an approved research organization in national laws.