This written ministerial statement was laid in the House of Commons by Mark Harper and in the House of Lords by Lord Taylor of Holbeach.
The Minister of State for Immigration (Mark Harper): The government has decided not to opt in at this stage to the Commission’s proposal for a directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on the conditions of entry and residence of third country nationals for the purposes of research, studies, pupil exchange, remunerated and unremunerated training, voluntary service and au pairing.
The proposed directive would repeal and replace existing directives 2004/114/EC and 2005/71/EC which are concerned with the entry and stay of third country students and researchers. The UK has not opted into the existing directives.
The government considers that policies regulating the admission of students, researchers and other categories of migrant covered by the new proposal are best determined at national level. It has concerns that the new proposal may undermine the reforms of the immigration system which the government has undertaken in order to reduce abuse of the student route and protect the labour market while continuing to ensure that the United Kingdom continues to be an attractive destination for students from overseas. The measures may therefore undermine the UK’s ability to control immigration in the national interest.
It would be possible for the UK to seek to participate in the directive after its adoption if this were to change.