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New directive improves mobility within the EU for researchers and students from ‘third countries’

It will soon be simpler for third-country nationals with a residence permit issued by a Member State of the European Union to stay as a student or researcher in another Member State in order to undergo part of their studies or carry out a research activity. Third-country nationals are persons who do not have the nationality of an EU/EEA Member State or Switzerland.

On 23 May 2018, the Netherlands will implement European Directive (EU) 2016/801. The purpose of the Directive is to harmonise the conditions for admission and authorisation at EU level and foster mobility for students and researchers. The Directive governs the conditions for third-country nationals for admission and authorisation as a researcher (and family members), student, trainee or volunteer in the context of European volunteer service.

The Directive combines the Study Directive (2004/114/EC) and the Research Directive (2005/71/EG), adds several groups to them and replaces these 2 Directives. The Study Directive and Research Directive will be repealed with effect from 24 May 2018.

Intra-EU mobility for researchers (and family members) and students

The rules relating to mobility within the European Union (so-called intra-EU mobility) will be simplified  for students and researchers from third countries. Third-country nationals can make use of intra-EU-mobility if they demonstrate that they meet the applicable conditions.

For instance, while retaining their Dutch residence permit, they can go to one or more other Member States to pursue part of their study programme or carry out research. It is also possible for a third-country national who, for example has a residence  permit in Germany for studies or as a researcher to spend a maximum number of days in the Netherlands without having to apply for an residence permit. This is, however, on condition that the student or researcher is undergoing a programme comprising mobility measures.

For researchers and their family members, there are 2 types of intra-EU mobility:

  1. Short-term mobility: a stay not exceeding 180 days (in a period of 360 days) in another Member State of the European Union. The researcher does not need to apply to the Member State concerned for a residence permit in order to do so.
  2. Long-term mobility: a stay of more than 180 days in another Member State of the European Union. The researcher must apply to the Member State concerned for a separate residence permit.

A student making use of EU mobility may stay in another Member State of the European Union for 360 days at most. The student does not need to apply to the Member State concerned for a residence permit in order to do so.

Volunteers in the framework of European Volunteer Vervice and trainees

The Directive also regulates the admission conditions for trainees and volunteers from third countries. There are few amendments for this group. For instance, third-country nationals who want to come to the Netherlands as volunteers in the framework of European Voluntary Service will soon have to conclude a contract with the exchange organisation. Moreover, the volunteer may also have had a residence permit before in the context of exchange. The most significant amendment of the rules for trainees is that more highly educated third-country nationals who graduated 2 years ago at most can also undergo traineeship in the Netherlands.

More information

From 23 May 2018 here you will find more information on the conditions and procedure.

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