As of the 1st January 2021, the UK officially left the European Union and the effects of this have been felt in almost every sector and higher education is no different. According to research carried out by Forbes, it is estimated that UK universities will lose an estimated £62.5 million per year in tuition from European students, which has only been compounded by the effects of the global pandemic and the imposition of international travel restrictions.
It is on a practical level however that citizens are truly feeling the impact of Brexit. Leaving the EU has bought an end to the Free Movement of People previously enjoyed by UK citizens in Europe and European citizens in the UK. While EU citizens looking to study in the UK often had to pay slightly higher fees than national students they still benefitted from a lower tuition fee rate than global international students. They also enjoyed the ease of relocation and study without the added requirement of obtaining a visa.
In the wake of Brexit, EU students who wish to study in the UK will now need to ensure they have the appropriate visa to do so. The UK’s Student route visa now works on a points-based system and students will need to meet English language requirements. Students may also have to provide proof of financial stability. There are time frames on when you can make these applications, where you can make them from and how long you are entitled to stay on a student visa. Visas must also be paid for together with a healthcare surcharge and medical tests that are required as a condition of entry. In light of the new procedures in place, it is advised that students coming from the EU or anywhere in the world seek advice from immigration solicitors, particularly if they are seeking to bring family members or dependents with them. It is worth noting however those EU students, and their family members, studying in the UK up to the 30th June 2021 will have the right to reside under the EU settlement scheme. This means they will have the right to live in the UK under either Settled Status or Pre-settled Status. Again, seeking advice is always recommended if you fall into either of these categories to ensure that rights are protected.
As for UK students looking to study in Europe, there are changes also but quantifying them is not as simple. Students will now need to look at the requirements of the country they intend to study in and may need to make applications for residency, visas and healthcare. UK citizens may not have the same rights when it comes to driving and may need to pass the national test of the country they intend to live in. It is also expected that there will be fluctuations in the tuition fees that UK students will need to pay, but again, this will dependant on the country of study.