EU Commission proposes to EU Council to open Negotiations to facilitate EU-UK Youth Mobility

EU Commission proposes to EU Council to open Negotiations to facilitate EU-UK Youth Mobility

Brussels, 18 April 2024

The EU Commission has proposed negotiations with the EU Council and the United Kingdom to establish an agreement facilitating youth mobility. This initiative aims to address decreased mobility since the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, particularly impacting opportunities for young people. The proposal seeks to create a right for young EU and UK citizens to study, work, and live in each other’s territories more easily and for longer periods, with conditions including age limits and maximum duration of stay. For instance, both EU and UK citizens aged 18 to 30 could stay for up to 4 years in the destination country under the envisaged agreement


The Commission is proposing this initiative due to the decline in mobility between the EU and the UK following Brexit, particularly impacting young people. The UK has approached several EU Member States to include their youth in the UK Youth Mobility Scheme. However, the Commission aims to address this shared concern on a broader EU level with its own proposal to include all Member States, thus opening up opportunities for young people from all EU Member States to travel to the UK and vice versa

Maroš Šefčovič

„The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union has hit young people in the EU and the UK who would like to study, work and live abroad particularly hard. Today, we take the first step towards an ambitious but realistic agreement between the EU and the UK that would fix this issue. Our aim is to rebuild human bridges between young Europeans on both sides of the Channel.“

Maroš Šefčovič, Executive Vice-President for European Green Deal, Interinstitutional Relations and Foresight

Next steps

The Commission’s recommendation will now be discussed in the Council. If the Council agrees, the Commission would be empowered to launch negotiations with the UK on youth mobility.

IAPA´s Perspective and Implications for Au Pairs

In 2022, IAPA submitted a petition to the EU Parliament’s Petitions Committee calling on the EU to start negotiations on reciprocal mobility opportunities for young people, including au pairs, with the UK. In June 2022, our Managing Director Patricia Brunner was invited to present our concerns in person to the Petitions Committee. The discussion following this presentation and communication with the EU Commission and other relevant bodies revealed strong support for our cause. The EU representatives expressed regret that the UK had not originally agreed to include youth exchanges in the original treaty between the EU and the UK, as proposed in the EU draft treaty.

Two years ago, it seemed futile to pursue this matter. However, with recent overtures from the UK to negotiate bilateral agreements on Youth Mobility with some EU countries, the EU is now better positioned to propose a comprehensive pan-European approach that benefits more young people on both sides. IAPA fully supports the EU Commission’s initiative and is optimistic that the Council will endorse it, leading to negotiations. It’s important to recognize that this is just the initial step in what may be a lengthy negotiation process.

IAPA strongly advocates for the inclusion of the au pair program in these negotiations, and IAPA will proactively remind the Commission of this. The proposal document mentions the absence of an au pair visa pathway to the UK, underscoring the importance of our program being considered. Currently, UK nationals can apply for au pair visas in EU countries where such visas are available, creating an imbalance that needs to be addressed. We are cautiously optimistic that talks between the two parties will now move forward and hopefully an appropriate solution will be found to allow young people between the ages of 18 and 30 to have cultural exchanges on the other side of the Channel again