European Union: New European Directive On The Conditions Of Residence And Employment Of Certain Third-Country Nationals - Supplementary Rights For Researchers, Students, Trainees, Au Pairs And Volunteers By 2018
A new European Directive requires EU Member States to
provide supplementary rights by 23 May 2018 for the benefit of
third-country researchers and students. Their mobility between
other Member States will among other things be facilitated, while
they maintain their right of residence for a period of up to 9
months after the completion of research or studies, in order to
seek employment or set up a business.
Furthermore, the Directive will have an impact on the
Belgian provisions on the right of residence and employment of
trainees and, possibly, of au pairs and volunteers
Persons who are not citizens of a Member State of the European
Economic Area (EEA) or Switzerland (third country nationals) are
not allowed to reside in the EEA or in Switzerland and/or to work
there. In principle, the Member States determine themselves their
immigration policy. However, for certain categories of specific
third-country nationals, e.g. researchers and students, provisions
as regards the conditions of residence and employment are
harmonised at the European level.
A recently adopted European Directive modifies the existing
provisions for third-country researchers and students. These
researchers and students shall have the right – under
specific conditions – to stay on the territory of the Member
State that issued their residence permit for a period of 9 months
after the completion of research or respective studies in order to
seek employment or set up a business. Their possibilities to travel
across Europe for their research and their studies have also been
Thanks to the Directive, there are now also European provisions
concerning the residence and the employment of third-county
nationals who wish to complete a traineeship in a Member State.
Third-country nationals who still fall under a third-country higher
education institution will have the possibility to complete –
under specific provisions – a traineeship in Belgium, while
for now Belgian law requires that the traineeship follow on from an
already obtained diploma. Furthermore, in light of the Directive,
the age condition at present required (18-30 years) for the
granting of a work permit as a trainee no longer seems tenable.
The Directive also provides for an optional legal framework for
au pairs. If Belgium decides to apply this framework, the
present provisions will have to be adapted.
Finally, the Directive provides – under specific
conditions – a temporary right of residence to third-country
volunteers in the Member State where they want to participate in a
voluntary service scheme. To date, voluntary service does not
constitute a ground for a residence permit in Belgium. These
provisions are nevertheless to a great extent optional for the
Member States; we will have to wait and see if major changes will
Member States have until 23 May 2018 to transpose the Directive;
it is yet not immediately applicable.
The existing Belgian provisions on the conditions of residence
and employment of third-country nationals remain temporarily into
force. However, companies hosting third-country trainees can expect
the present Belgian provisions to be modified during the next two
years. Changes are also possible for volunteers and au pairs.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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