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Brexit: Analysis and FAQs

 

“Students are the lifeblood of the collegiate university. The University of Cambridge has close to 8,000 international students from 120 countries. Students bring talent and diversity, and form the basis of a rich network of alumni and partners. It is our aspiration that the University of Cambridge remains the most welcoming and stimulating destination for highly motivated students from around the world embarking on undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.”

Prof Graham Virgo, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education

Q. How does the referendum result affect EU students accessing student loans?

A statement from Sam Gyimah, Universities and Science Minister, confirms that current students, including those that will start courses in the 2018 – 19 academic year or before, and are eligible to receive loans and/or grants from Student Finance England, will continue to remain eligible for these loans and grants until they finish their course.

EU nationals starting courses in England in the 2019 – 20 academic year will also remain eligible for financial support from Student Finance England for the duration of their course, providing they meet the existing residency requirement.

For further information, please read the full announcement here.

The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has also confirmed that students from the EU starting courses in the 2019 - 20 academic year will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status', meaning they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students. They will also be able to access financial support for the duration of their course on the same basis as is available today. Read the full announcement here.

Q. Are there any changes to the immigration status of EU/EEA nationals currently working in or studying at Cambridge?

Currently there is no change to the immigration status of EU nationals working or studying in Cambridge.

The Compliance Team in HR are happy to advise staff and students on all matters to do with residency, immigration and visas. Contact details for this team, and more information about their work, can be found here: https://www.hr.admin.cam.ac.uk/hr-services/immigration

Q. Will the UK continue to participate in the Erasmus programme?

The joint report on progress during phase 1 of negotiations, issued in December 2017, states that following withdrawal from the Union, the UK will continue to participate in Union programmes financed by the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014 - 2020. This includes the Erasmus programme.

In July 2018, the UK government extended the underwrite guarantee for certain EU programmes, including Erasmus, covering funding applied for after the UK's exit until the end of 2020, provided that the terms under which UK organisations could be eligible for post-exit participation are agreed. 

In August 2018, the government published a technical notice on UK participation in the Erasmus programme in the 'no deal' scenario. This outlines the government's plans to seek agreement for the UK to continue participating in Erasmus. 

The future participation in Erasmus will be decided as part of the future partnership negotiations.

Detailed information is outlined on the UK National Agency's website.

Q. How will the UK leaving the EU affect the fees paid by EU students?

The UK government confirmed on 2 July 2018 that EU students applying for university places in the 2019 – 20 year will remain eligible for ‘home fee status’, meaning they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students. The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, also confirmed that the maximum tuition fees that a university will be able to charge will be frozen for the second year running.

This comes after the government confirmed students starting their courses in the academic year 2018 – 19 will remain eligible for financial support, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU. Please see here for further information.

Q. Will there be any changes to the Cambridge scholarships available to EU and other international applicants?

The UK government has confirmed that EU students starting courses in England in the academic year 2019 – 20 will continue to be eligible for Home fee status. They will also be able to access financial support for the duration of their courses on the same basis as it is currently available.

Please see the Cambridge Trusts Scholarships page for further information.

Q. I’m a non-EEA national. Is there any impact on me?

The referendum has no effect upon the UK immigration system and there are no foreseeable changes to the mechanism by which non-EEA nationals can visit, study, work, or settle in the UK.

Q. Who should I contact if I have queries about my position?

The University’s International Student Office provides advice on a range of student-related immigration matters for applicants, students and their family members. 

The HR Compliance Team have significant experience with assisting with immigration applications.

The Cambridge Research Office provides advice on the impact of Brexit on EU grants, research projects and collaborations. For further information please contact the EU team on H2020@admin.cam.ac.uk using the email title 'Brexit query'.

For more complex cases, at this stage we would recommend that you seek independent legal advice.

Q. What impact will a no-deal Brexit have on immigration?

In the event of a no-deal, there is no anticipated possibility of a 'cliff edge' regarding the rights of EU/EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK, either for those already present in the UK, or those arriving after 29 March 2019. This is due to the effective continuation of 'free movement' by way of the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 (which has subsumed EU 'free movement' law into UK law). This will remain the case until the government legislates for a new immigration system.

These rights will exist 'invisibly', and there will be safeguards in place to prevent the government from altering these (the creation of an independent body to oversee the government's governance of free movement rights being the most pertinent).

In parallel with this, on 28 August, the government introduced the concept of settled and pre-settled status into UK law by way of the Immigration Rules. This status will give EU nationals (and shortly, EEA and Swiss nationals) the ability to apply for indefinite leave to remain or limited leave to remain, depending on their circumstances. It is the government's ambition to document all EU nationals who are present in the UK through the introduction of settled and pre-settled status. It is anticipated that the public rollout of the application process to gain these statuses will commence no later than March 2019.

In recognition of the challenge this will present to the Home Office, the application system is being rolled out in phases. From 15 November, the next pilot phase will open, which will allow all EU staff working at a UK HEI to access the scheme and make an application for settled or pre-settled status in advance of the public rollout.

There are some limitations as to who can access this phase. Full details can be found here

Note: There is no obligation or requirement to access the pilot scheme once it goes live on 15 November, and all EU nationals in the UK will have until 31 December 2020 to gain either settled or pre-settled status. There is also no requirement to gain these statuses before the UK formally exits the EU on 29 March 2019.

With the introduction of this pilot, we are pleased to offer a series of presentations which will provide information on current residency rights, and a detailed overview of the settled and pre-settled status application process. These presentations give you the opportunity to see the application process first-hand and to give you the information you need to make an application, if you wish, in advance of the full rollout next year. Details of these presentations can be found here.

The date the EU Settlement Scheme will be open to students has not yet been announced.

Q. What impact will a no-deal Brexit have on fees?

The UK government confirmed on 2 July 208 that EU students applying for university places in the 2019 – 20 year will remain eligible for ‘home fee status’, meaning they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students. The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, also confirmed that the maximum tuitions fees that a university will be able to charge will be frozen for the second year running.

This comes after the government confirmed students starting their courses in the academic year 2018 – 19 will remain eligible for financial support, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU. Please see here for further information.