Attracting and retaining international researchers
On 25 April 2022, the EMN published its inform on attracting and retaining international researchers, which provides an overview of the means adopted by Member States to enhance attractiveness for international researchers, as well as the main challenges and best practices that they encountered to admit and retain them.
The Students and Researchers Directive seeks to improve and harmonise legal standards for welcoming and retaining international students and researchers, as well as making the EU a more attractive destination for them. While most EU Member States prioritise attracting and retaining international researchers in their policies, the means to do so vary.
Some Member States adopt promotional and informational activities to enhance their attractiveness for international researchers, others conclude bilateral and multilateral cooperation agreements between EU Member States and third countries or facilitate the application process for international researchers, for instance offering the possibility of fast-track applications, an extension of the maximum period of long-term mobility, as well as financial facilitation and support. Additionally, the inform highlights that the means of admitting international to the Member States varies: some Member States refer to the Students and Researchers Directive, while others use other national or EU employment-focused schemes that admit international researchers as highly qualified workers.
Regarding the retention of international researchers, Member States identify different practices, such as giving support to obtain a residence permit and registering residence with local authorities, support on arrival; induction and orientation.
Apart from the best practices, the Inform also identifies various challenges: bureaucratic hurdles may render a country less attractive, as well as limited research infrastructure and lack of financial support. Finally, the Inform also reports that the COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact across the EU.