Brussels, 09 Jun 2004
The Council, pending the opinion from the European Parliament, reached a general approach on the proposal for a Council Recommendation aimed to facilitate the admission of third country nationals to carry out scientific research in the European Community. The Recommendation is part of a "Package" presented by the Commission which includes also a proposal for a Directive on a specific procedure for the admission of third-country nationals to carry out research.
The Recommendation is a step to strengthen the actions being undertaken to develop the European research area, in the framework of the strategic objective, set out for the EU by the Lisbon European Council in March 2000: to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge based economy in the world.
The Recommendation calls on Member States to adopt a number of practical measures without delay, in view of the fact that the Directive will not come into operation until 2006, at the earliest, and that more immediate action will be necessary if the targets set by the Lisbon European Council are to be met.
The Recommendation identifies the following areas of action:
(1) In the area of admission for the purpose of carrying out research:
- encourage the admission of researchers into the Community, by providing to them favourable conditions for carrying out research, preferably by exempting them from work permit requirements, or alternatively by providing for work permits to be issued automatically, or under fast - track procedures;
- refrain from using quotas to restrict the admission of third-country nationals for research posts;
- guarantee third-country nationals the possibility of working as a researcher, including the possibility of extension or renewal of work permits where appropriate;
- issue residence permits in response to applications from third-country nationals for purposes of research as soon as possible, and facilitate fast track procedures;
- guarantee third-country nationals working as researchers that their residence permits will be renewed;
- gradually involve the research organisations in the admission procedure for researchers;
(4) In the area of operational cooperation:
- facilitate access of researchers to the relevant information and promote its availability on all the relevant information sources;
- promote contact persons network within the competent administrations;
- encourage research organisations to develop such networks;
- inform the Commission about the measures they have adopted in order to facilitate the admission of researchers from third countries.