EU Expands Learning Mobility Opportunities for Students, Teachers, and Apprentices

EU Expands Learning Mobility Opportunities for Students, Teachers, and Apprentices

The Council of the European Union has adopted a recommendation to encourage young people to learn, study, and train in other countries.

This initiative, called “Europe on the Move,” aims to help more people find educational opportunities outside their own countries.

Ambitious targets set for 2030

The Council has set new European Union (EU)-level targets to be reached by 2030:

  • At least 23% of university graduates should have a learning mobility experience.

  • At least 12% of vocational education and training (VET) learners should benefit from learning mobility abroad.

  • Member states will strive for at least 20% of learners with fewer opportunities to participate in learning mobility by 2027.

The Council will track progress and consider expanding these goals to ensure more students can have these international experiences.

Promoting inclusive learning mobility

The recommendation also focuses on making studying abroad more accessible to everyone, particularly those who might not usually have the chance.

This means countries in the EU are being encouraged to offer more support, like financial aid and information, and to break down any obstacles that might prevent students from studying in another country.

To make this work, different groups, including schools, youth organizations, and community organizations, need to collaborate to ensure everyone has a fair shot at this opportunity.

Harnessing digital technologies

The EU also wants member states to use digital tools to make studying abroad easier. 

This could involve creating compatible IT systems, supporting projects that help researchers move between countries, and even using artificial intelligence to help overcome barriers.

Promoting EU values and attractiveness

The Council also wants students to learn about and share European values while studying abroad.

This means encouraging them to get involved in the communities they visit, providing training on different cultures, and ensuring academic freedom.  

The recommendation also aims to make the EU a more attractive place to study. 

Working closely with countries outside the EU, especially those that might join in the future, can make it easier for people to move around for education and address any skill shortages.

Exploring new horizons

The Council's recommendation creates new opportunities for people wanting to visit or move to the EU. It also provides more chances for people to stay longer in the EU for learning and training. 

However, students, teachers, and apprentices must still acquire the necessary authorizations to enter the EU country of their choice. This includes the European Travel Information and Authorization System (ETIAS).

Starting in mid-2025, the ETIAS will check travelers from visa-free countries before they enter the Schengen Area. This is a requirement for anyone traveling in the EU for 90 days or less.

Meanwhile, travelers planning to stay in the EU longer can benefit from more inclusive and accessible learning experiences abroad.

By promoting language learning, recognizing qualifications, and supporting those with fewer opportunities, the EU aims to attract talent and encourage cultural exchange.

Shaping the future of EU immigration policy

The “Europe on the Move” initiative will affect EU immigration policy in the future. 

While the ETIAS will improve security for short-term visits to the Schengen Area, the focus on learning mobility and inclusion may make it easier for people to study, train, or gain work experience in the EU.

As member states work towards the 2030 goals, immigration policies may change to help students, teachers, and apprentices move more easily.

Working with non-EU countries, especially those looking to join the EU, could also influence future immigration agreements and talent partnerships.

Embracing a borderless future of learning

The Council’s recommendation is an important step towards increasing opportunities for people to study and train in different countries, both in the EU and beyond.

By setting high goals, promoting inclusivity, and using digital technologies, the plan aims to help more people gain valuable experiences from learning abroad.