What are the procedures established by Member States to prevent and detect the misuse of authorisations for third-country nationals to reside for the purpose of study? The latest inform from the European Migration Network (EMN) provides a comparative overview of Member States’ approaches, experiences and best practices in addressing such cases.
Brussels, 7 March 2022
EU legislation regulates the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects, and au pairing. This inform draws on the contributions of 24 Member States and aims to map experiences and approaches across the EU in preventing and addressing situations where authorisations are potentially misused for a purpose other than for study. The term “authorisations” covers both residence permits and long-stay visas issued for the purpose of study.
The inform is built around the distinction between the pre-arrival phase, where focus is on prevention of potential misuse of authorisations, and the post-arrival phase, which concentrates on monitoring and detecting cases of misuse once an authorisation to reside for the purpose of study has been issued. The inform outlines that several Member States give full priority to the pre-arrival phase, with as many placing emphasis on both the pre-arrival and the post-arrival phase.
The most common methods used by Member States to assess the potential for a misuse of authorisations by third-country nationals are document validation and interviewing applicants. Document validation includes specific checks of documents, for instance passports, education certificates, financial assets. Interviewing aims to check the applicant’s knowledge of the chosen field of study, of their chosen country of study, or language of the course of study. Other verification methods include contacting Higher Education Institutes to confirm the applicant’s enrolment to a course, if the applicant has paid fees for studying, and performing tests or check certificates on language skills.
Post-arrival monitoring often outlines cases of misuse of authorisations mostly for the purpose of employment or self-employment. Some important indicators for the detection of misuse are the temporary suspension or the premature abandonment of studies by the third-country national. In most Member States, the detection of misuse of the authorisation to reside for the purpose of study results in the non-renewal or withdrawal of the authorisation, with the possibility for the third-country national to appeal the decision before an administrative court.
 Directive (EU) 2016/801 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 May 2016 on the conditions of entry and residence of third-country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, training, voluntary service, pupil exchange schemes or educational projects and au pairing (the Students and Researchers Directive), https://eur-lex.europa.eu/eli/dir/2016/801/oj, last accessed on 02 November 2021. NB Ireland is not taking part in the adoption of this Directive and is not bound by it or subject to its application.
 AT, BE, CY, CZ, DE, EE, EL, ES, FI, FR, HR, HU, IE, IT, LT, LU, LV, MT, NL, PL, PT, SE, SI, SK.