Immigration of International Students to the EU

The EMN Study on Immigration of International Students to the EU provides an overview of the immigration and mobility policies that are currently being implemented by the (Member) States to allow international students to enter into the EU for the purposes of study and where necessary, to move within the EU, also for the purpose of study. Such policies aim to both actively attract international students whilst at the same time preventing misuse of the international student route to migration. The study focuses on the migration of international students to the EU, including those who have progressed through several courses of study, for example, from a first to a second degree course. It does not include migrants who come to the EU for another purpose, even if they subsequently decide to undertake a course of study


This Synthesis Report was prepared on the basis of National Contributions from 24 EMN NCPs (Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, United Kingdom and Norway)1 according to Common Specifications developed by the EMN and followed by EMN NCPs to ensure, to the extent possible, comparability.
National Contributions were largely based on desk analysis of existing legislation and policy documents, reports (including previous EMN outputs), academic literature, political debate, media articles, internet resources and reports and information from national authorities (Ministries, Border Guards and other law enforcement agencies), NGOs and International Organisations. Statistics were sourced from Eurostat, again national authorities plus other (national) databases.
In order to complete the information gathered through secondary research, many (Member) States also undertook primary research which took the form of interviews and consultation with relevant stakeholders. Surveys were also undertaken in Italy and Lithuania. In Italy, an online survey was conducted (targeting international students in collaboration with universities all around the country which was completed also by fieldworkers), that covered approximately 1 200 international students. In Lithuania, two surveys were launched: A questionnaire targeting diplomatic missions of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the primary countries of origin of the international students and a survey covering 97 international students from seven universities.
It is important to note that the comments of this Report refer to the situation in the above-mentioned (Member) States up to and including 2012 and specifically the contributions from their EMN National Contact Points. More detailed information on the topics addressed here may be found in the available National Contributions and it is strongly recommended that these are consulted also.
When referring to (Member) States participating in Directive 2004/114/EC throughout the Synthesis Report, it is important to note that Ireland, United Kingdom and Norway did not participate in the adoption of the Directive, nor are they bound by it.
The (Member) States listed above are given in bold when mentioned in the Report and "(Member) States" is used to indicate the contributions from participating EU Member States plus from Norway. The listing of (Member) States in the Report results from the availability of information provided by the EMN NCPs in their National Reports.
EMN NCPs from other Member States could not, for various reasons, participate on this occasion in this Study, but have done so for other EMN activities and reports.
Document type
  • Report


Publication Year


This Synthesis Report has been produced by the European Migration Network (EMN), which comprises the European Commission, its service provider (ICF GHK-COWI) and EMN National Contact Points (EMN NCPs).
Geographical focus
  • European Union (EU 27)
  • International; Other
Scientifc field / Thematic focus
  • Cross-thematic/Interdisciplinary

Entry created by Desiree Pecarz on March 26, 2013
Modified on March 26, 2013