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Brexit and the EU

Guidance for students

We know that our students are uncertain about how they will be affected by Brexit. We are committed to supporting all of our students through this period of change and for giving as much information as we can and to the best of our knowledge.

When will the UK leave the European Union? 

The UK formally leaves the EU on 31 January 2020, after which a great deal of negotiation will need to take place between both parties. This will be worked out during the transition period, which begins immediately after leaving and is due to end on 31 December 2020. While in the transition period, the UK will continue to follow all of the EU's rules and its trading relationship will remain the same. At the end of the transition, the UK will leave the single market and customs union. Aside from trade, many other aspects of the future relationship will need to be decided, from law enforcement to licensing of medicines.

Will EU/EEA students still be able to study at UK universities?

There will be no change to the immigration status of EU students who are already here or who arrive before the end of the government's Brexit implementation period on 31 December 2020. This was confirmed in the government's Statement of Intent on the EU Settlement Scheme.

If a deal between the UK and the EU is reached, EU nationals who already live in the UK, or who arrive by 31 December 2020, will be able to apply for either settled status or pre-settled status.

The settled status will enable EU nationals having lived continuously in the UK for at least five years to live, work and study in the UK for as long as they like. EU nationals having lived in the UK for less than five years will be able to apply for pre-settled status, which will allow them to meet the five-year residency requirement needed to apply for settled status. The Settlement Scheme opened fully on 30 March 2019 and the deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021. Those eligible can apply here.

Will tuition fees for EU/EEA students studying at UK universities change as a result of Brexit?

Governments across the UK have confirmed that EU students starting a course in 2019–20 and 2020-21 will still be eligible for home fee status and for financial support as per existing rules. The fee status of EU and EEA students starting courses at UK universities from 2021–22 has not yet been determined by UK governments.

Will EU/EEA students continue to be eligible to receive loans and grants?

The Minister for Universities Chris Skidmore MP has confirmed that EU students starting their course in 2019-20 and 2020-21 at an English higher education institution will continue to be eligible for financial support from Student Finance England for the entire duration of their course, regardless of whether a deal is reached between the UK and the EU or not.

What about students participating in the Erasmus+ exchange programme?

The UK will continue to participate in Erasmus+ until the end of the programme in 2020. This would allow staff and students to complete mobility periods, and receive funding, through the Erasmus+ programme until the end of the academic year 2020-21.

There has not yet been an agreement on the UK’s relationship with EU programmes that are due to start in 2021 (Horizon Europe and the next Erasmus).

UUK Brexit FAQs 

UKCISA guidance for students and their families 

Erasmus+ Brexit update

Guidance for staff

The Brexit vote has caused a great deal of uncertainty for EU staff and we are committed to supporting you throughout any changes that occur as a result. We are also aware that staff may be concerned about the impact of leaving the EU on everything from research to international partnerships. We will continue to work with UUK and the HE sector to ensure the information we provide is as up to date as possible.

When will the UK leave the European Union?

The UK formally leaves the EU on 31 January 2020, after which a great deal of negotiation will need to take place between both parties. This will be worked out during the transition period, which begins immediately after leaving and is due to end on 31 December 2020. While in the transition period, the UK will continue to follow all of the EU's rules and its trading relationship will remain the same. At the end of the transition, the UK will leave the single market and customs union. Aside from trade, many other aspects of the future relationship will need to be decided, from law enforcement to licensing of medicines.

Will the UK continue to have access to EU funding for research and innovation?

The UK will remain in the Horizon 2020 research programme and other EU funding programmes that are part of the multiannual financial framework (MFF) until the end of 2020, as per article 138 of the draft withdrawal agreement. This will allow for UK participants to continue to apply for and receive Horizon 2020 funding for the full duration of successful projects. UK recipients would have to continue to comply with EU financial reporting and auditing requirements.

In this scenario, UK-based researchers can participate fully in all Horizon 2020 calls issued by 31 December 2020, with any successful grants covered in full (via the EU budget) for the duration of the project. The European Commission will continue to make payments to UK recipients so the UKRI no-deal funding mechanisms will not be required for this period.

UUK continues to lobby for full association for the next framework programme, Horizon Europe, which is due to start on 1 January 2021. The proposal for this programme was published by the European Commission in June 2018, and leaves open the possibility of full UK participation as an associated country.

Will UK universities still be able to employ staff from other EU/EEA countries?

Yes; EU nationals who already live in the UK (or who arrive by 31 December 2020 if there is a transition period following a deal being passed), will be able to apply for 'settled status'. This will enable EU citizens to live, work and study in the UK for as long as they like, with the ability to leave the UK for up to five years without endangering their settled status. The Settlement Scheme opened in March 2019. Those eligible can apply here.

EU citizens who have already been in the UK for five years and can evidence that will be granted settled status. EU citizens who have lived in the UK for less than five years will be granted pre-settled status until they reach the five-year residency requirement. Those EU/EEA nationals with permanent residence will be able to convert their permanent residence status into the new settled status free of charge, subject only to verification of identity, a criminality and security check and proof of ongoing residence. · The government has reached agreements with governments of EEA countries (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) and Switzerland about the rights of their citizens. These are broadly in line with those negotiated for EU students and citizens. Nationals of these countries will be able to guarantee their rights in the UK through the EU Settlement Scheme.