Since the referendum in 2016 in which the public voted that the UK is to leave the European Union (“EU”), a big question mark has hung over the future of people from the European Economic Area choosing to settle in the UK. A specific group left uncertain as to their prospective status is EEA students, who, during this time of upheaval, are concerned about their futures alongside their studies. European students who have already commenced their studies or have applied to do so face no changes during their formative years of study. Furthermore, European students applying for a place at a UK university in 2018-2019 will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students, receiving what is known as ‘home fee status’.
However, as formal negotiations for the UK to leave the European Union continue, students face an uncertain future. The Government has stated that there will be no immediate change to the present regime, where EEA nationals currently still enjoy free movement rights and are free to live, work and study in the UK. A number of UK universities have confirmed that those applying to study before 2020 will still receive the same treatment. Despite this clarification there has been no mention yet as to what EEA students should expect once negotiations have ceased.
In contrast to the rest of the UK (which has been reluctant to give any details on the future) Scotland has extended the home fee status to European students in the year 2019-2020, covering the period immediately following the UK’s exit from the EU.
Although the future financial implications for EEA students (and their families) who wish to study and reside in the UK are currently unknown, what is clear is that the UK relies on European education links for research. Sir Steve Smith, Chairman of Universities UK’s International Policy, had noted that, “the UK’s closest competitors, such as the USA, Australia, France and Germany, all continue to grow at a faster rate than the UK”. Perhaps negotiators in the Brexit talks should consider this when discussing the UK as a world leader in international education and reconsider any changes being planned to the status of EEA students.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with various immigration matters. Should you wish to speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.