Swedish MEP wants more work privileges for non-EU students
by FFE EU News Staff
In current Swedish law, non-EU students are required to have work within 10 days after the end of their final exams or risk being booted out of the country. This means most students have to look for work while they are still studying.
The strict labour guideline for students has been one reason why Sweden is seeing a drop in foreign students for the past few years. Other reasons that have pushed the drop in non-EU student enrollees are higher tuition fees.
But Liberal Party (Folkpartiet) MEP Cecilia Wikström wants to change this trend and give foreign students more time to look for work in a bid to boost the number of non-EU students in Sweden. She said ‘Ten days, isn’t that outrageous? I think it’s an embarrassment for my country. Germany has 18 months, the Netherlands has 12, and then it’s a falling scale until Sweden at the bottom with ten days.’
To improve the working climate of non-EU students, Wikström introduced an EU directive that would extend this 10-day period to 18 months for all foreign students who have finished their studies within the EU. In addition to extending the period, the directive also aims to improve the student’s job market options, social benefits and to give opportunities for the student’s partner.
Wikström said ‘We need to attract skilled people and make them stay. Today, they’re heading to the places where they are more welcome, which includes countries like Australia, Canada, and even parts of India. We need to keep up in a globalised world.’
The Folkpartiet MEP isn’t the only one concerned about Sweden’s eroding foreign student figures. Last month, a group of stakeholders in the academe made public a resolution asking government and the industry to work together to improve scholarship opportunities for non-EU students.