Universities demand 'urgent clarity' over Brexit visa rules

Posted On: 
20th October 2017

British universities have demanded "urgent clarity" from Theresa May over the future of EU academics and students in the UK. 

Students at the entrance of King's College in central London

The chief executive of Universities UK, Alistair Jarvis, said the uncertainty could mean institutions lose out on research and teaching staff. 

Some 17% of British universities’ academics are from other EU countries. And 127,000 EU students are at UK institutions. 

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The Times reports academics are already turning down spots in British universities because of uncertainty following the 2015 referendum. 

As it stands, academics and students can travel to the UK without a visa. Students are also entitled to the same funding as British students - they are charged a maximum of £9,250 as opposed to the foreign student rate, which is significantly higher and has no cap. 

There are concerns Brexit could result in students being charged the foreign student rate and require a student visa. 

Mr Jarvis told the paper: “We need urgent clarity from government on the future visa regime for European staff and students and the rights of current EU nationals working at our universities.

“The arrangements should recognise the huge value Europeans contribute to our universities, our economy and local communities.”

Vice chancellors are urging the Government to allow EU students to be permitted to stay in the UK after graduation. 

Higher Education Minister Jo Johnson said it will be important to keep up numbers of foreign students after Brexit. 

“They bring terrific value — they obviously bring an economic value to the universities, which is really important but they also bring diversity and different perspectives.”

Chairwoman of the Treasury Select committee and former education secretary Nicky Morgan said: “We should encourage [foreign students] to study here and we should remove them from any immigration numbers cap.”