Luxembourg, 12 October 2005
The package that the Council adopted today consists of a Directive which sets out a specific procedure for admitting third country nationals for the purposes of scientific research, and a Recommendation addressed to Member States with a view to facilitating the admission of researchers from third countries. A further recommendation aimed at facilitating the issuing of visas was adopted already in September.
Its purpose is to contribute to the Lisbon objectives of making Europe the most competitive and knowledge-based economy of the world, by fostering the admission and mobility of third country researchers in order to enhance the Community’s attractiveness for researchers from around the world and boost its position as an international centre for research.
Vice-President Frattini and Commissioner Potocnik qualified this package as ‘a major step towards a European research area more capable to exchange talents with the rest of the world .
Member States have to transpose the Directive by October 2007, whereas both Recommendations apply immediately upon adoption.
Directive: How does the admission procedure work ?
The Directive provides for a fast track procedure for the admission of third country researchers. Accredited research organisations play a major role in this process, as they will have to certify the status of the researcher in a hosting agreement which will acknowledge his/her involvement in a research project, as well as the possession by the researcher of the necessary scientific skills. Delivery of a residence permit to a researcher will automatically imply the right to work without an “economic needs test” to be carried out.
Equal treatment and right to EU mobility
On the basis of the hosting agreement, the immigration authorities of the host country will deliver a residence permit in an accelerated procedure. Holders of such residence permit enjoy equal treatment with nationals in a number of areas, for example social security or working conditions. Once such permit is granted, the researcher will also be free to move within most Member States (Schengen countries & Ireland) to carry out the research project.
Applications within the EU
Member States are encouraged to allow third country researchers who are already legally present in their territory to submit applications for residence permits for research purposes directly to the national authorities without returning home first.
Moreover, researchers who intend to make use of their right of mobility between Member States need not return to their country of origin to submit an application, as it is often currently the case.
Two recommendations to facilitate the entry and residence
The recommendations identify a series of areas in which Member States are encouraged to take action, in order to attract researchers from third countries to the EU and to facilitate their entry and residence in the territory of its Member States.
The first recommendation on facilitating the admission recommends Member States to anticipate the implementation of the directive by providing immediately favourable conditions for the admission of third country nationals for research purposes, through the exemption from or the automatic delivery of work permits, and the setting up of accelerated procedures for issuing the residence permit. The recommendation also covers issues such as family reunification and operational co-operation between Member States and the Commission.
The second recommendation on short-term visas is based on the consideration of researchers as bona fide travellers for whom it is suitable to facilitate the issue of uniform visas for the purpose of their participation in research programmes in EU Member States. Member States are encouraged to facilitate the rapid issuing of short-term visas, of multiple entry visas, the adoption of a harmonised approach on the supporting documents for research visa applications, and to reinforce their consular co-operation on these issues.