Entry and residence of third country nationals (recast)

EESC opinion: Entry and residence of third country nationals (recast)

Key points

  • The Committee welcomes this Commission's proposal, which aims at making the EU more attractive to students and talented researchers from third countries.  It considers that it is necessary to recast the two current directives on students and researchers if the EU wants to tackle the current the demographic and economic challenges, achieve the Europe 2020 goals and remain an innovation hub and a centre of industry.
  • The EU needs to take a new approach to economic migration, one that would allow third-country nationals to acquire knowledge and skills.  The Committee underlines the need to enhance cooperation between the EU and third countries to ensure effective "brain circulation" and supports the development of mobility partnerships.
  • The Committee also welcomes the emphasis on the fundamental rights of third-country nationals. Greater attention needs to be given to active measures to ensure their fair treatment.
  • As third-country nationals are often in vulnerable situations, especially students and au pairs, the EESC draws attention to the need to ensure appropriate protection for students, researchers, volunteers and au pairs where they are engaged in paid work or active in the labour market.  The Committee encourages the European Commission and the Fundamental Rights Agency to assess the vulnerabilities that third-country nationals face here and put forward to the Member States active measures aimed at removing them
  • The Committee encourages the European Commission and the Member States to take into account the gender aspect and to configure their programmes so as to facilitate the participation of more women.
  • The Committee believes that, in practice, a huge number of procedural and institutional obstacles continue to stand in the way of mobility. An in-depth analysis of these obstacles is needed, irrespective of their nature, and measures to eliminate them should be identified. The process for granting visas should be simple, fair, accessible and non-discriminatory.
  • The Committee welcomes the provision allowing third-country nationals to stay in the Member State for 12 months upon completion of their research or studies in order to look for work. However, the equal-treatment provisions in Directive 2011/98/EU include derogations that seem to run counter to the objectives of the proposal to recast the two directives.