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Resolution 2250 (2018)

Encouraging the movement of international students across Europe

Author(s): Parliamentary Assembly

Origin - Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the Assembly, on 23 November 2018 (see Doc. 14509 and addendum, report of Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons, rapporteur: The Earl of Dundee).

1. The Parliamentary Assembly is convinced that student mobility benefits member States’ education systems and economies, as the inclusion of international students brings greater diversity and a broader range of skills.
2. The Assembly refers in this context to its Resolution 2044 (2015) on student mobility, in which it stresses that student mobility is one of the core goals of the Bologna Process, which set up the European Higher Education Area. This has proved to be an important tool for economic progress, social development and intercultural understanding.
3. It also refers to the Council of Europe/UNESCO Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region (ETS No. 165, “Lisbon Recognition Convention”), which clearly states the States parties’ desire “to enable all people of the region to benefit fully from this rich asset of diversity by facilitating access by the inhabitants of each State and by the students of each Party's educational institutions to the educational resources of the other Parties”.
4. The Assembly urges member States to adopt measures in favour of student mobility. These would address tuition fees, accreditation and the need for compatibility between education systems. Such measures would also help international students find jobs in the countries where they have studied and would make them feel welcomed by the host countries and their political leadership.
5. The Assembly therefore calls on member States to promote student mobility both to and from their countries by:
5.1. providing a welcoming environment to international students and promoting the destination country’s employment prospects, its communities and its higher education institutions;
5.2. introducing policies that facilitate the admission of international students, allow them to gain work experience and, if they so wish, remain in the host country after graduation in order to seek employment;
5.3. implementing fully the Bologna Process for the recognition of higher education qualifications, aligning national qualifications with the Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area;
5.4. once jobs have been secured, helping international graduates to find accommodation and obtain longer-term residency permits and citizenship, if they so wish;
5.5. removing language barriers during studies and, with regard to finding employment, assisting international graduates with specific procedures which may differ from country to country;
5.6. for certain smaller countries, where relevant, offering more programmes in English in order to attract international students;
5.7. setting tuition fees for international students at the same or similar rates as those for domestic students and establishing tuition fees which are not prohibitive for some international students, while maintaining grant and loan programmes for students where an incentive is required for areas of study considered important.
6. With respect to the analysis of trends in student mobility, the Assembly also calls on member States and relevant international organisations to:
6.1. take into account to a greater extent in policies and programmes the evidence of surveys and studies to show the economic, social and cultural benefit for host countries and countries of origin of encouragement given to student movement;
6.2. agree on consistent definitions of student mobility across countries to enable the collection of comparable data;
6.3. in view of current concerns about migration, produce subdivisions within national immigration statistics distinguishing the annual figures of international students coming to the different countries from those of all other migrants.