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Leveraging our policies externally
Commitment 30
Retaining and Attracting International Talent
Innovation Union commitment text

"By 2012, the European Union and its Member States should put into place integrated policies to ensure that the best academics, researchers and innovators reside and work in Europe and to attract a sufficient number of highly skilled third country nationals to stay in Europe."

Foreign (Non-EU) Doctoral Candidates (ISCED 6) in the EU - The Top 30 Countries of Origin, 2007
Note: DE, IE, EL, LU, NL were not included in the calculation as data for these Member States are not available.
  • What is the problem?
  • What is our objective?
  • Implementation
  • Milestones
  • Background documents
  • Contact

The EU requires an increase of the number of researchers in the EU, some of whom will come from third countries. For the EU to successfully compete for research talent, a proper application of this legislation to attract researchers to the EU is necessary.


The "Scientific Visa Package" (EU directive 2005/71/EC and two recommendations (2005/761/EC on short term visas and 2005/762/EC (now obsolete)) constitute the EU legal framework for the entry of third country researchers to EU Member States.

Several other immigration Directives provide possibilities for third country national researchers to enter the EU (e.g. "Students Directive"). Although the Blue Card Directive (Directive 2009/50/EC) will present additional means of entering the EU for highly skilled workers (MS had to transpose until June 2011), it could potentially also create confusion within Member State administrations and embassies regarding cross-overs with the Scientific Visa Package. A workshop addressed the overlaps and differences between the different instruments in July 2011 - it remains to be seen however how the Directives' practical application relates to researchers.


All actions taken in implementation are to be carried out in cooperation with the appropriate services within DG Research, the wider services of the European Commission, as well as stakeholders outside (embassies, consulates, etc)

  • A comprehensive monitoring report of the application of directive 2005/71/EC and the Recommendation is subject to a study with respect to the monitoring of the European Partnership for Researchers. The final report assesses the state of implementation of the Scientific Visa Package in the Member States and was delivered in September 2011.
  • Building on this monitoring study, a report on the implementation of the Directive will be prepared by DG HOME end 2011.

A revamped EURAXESS Rights devotes a whole section to Entry conditions to the EU for third country national researchers. (

A EURAXESS-led information and awareness-raising campaign (including a mailing campaign) of the "scientific visa package" was developed and circulated to draw researchers' and research organisations' attention to the possibilities provided by this specific visa legislation.

July 2011 Workshop on Scientific Visa - Blue Card
Type: Preparatory activities
2011 Report on the monitoring of the implementation of the Scientific Visa Package in the Member States
Type: Preparatory activities
End 2011 European Commission report on the implementation on the Researchers Directive
Type: Preparatory activities
Lead Directorate-General/Unit, Head of Unit

DG RTD, Unit B2. "Skills" S. Hermans

Other Directorates-General/Units associated

DG RTD, D2, S. Gruber; DG HOME, B.1, D. Schmitt

Key external partners

Member States immigration/visa authorities, national research organisations that host researchers, embassies, consulates, EC delegations, EURAXESS Links officers

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