POLITICS: Brexit’s effect on students – what’s the deal?

Despite it taking a backseat among 2020’s many disasters, and 48% of the population’s wishful thinking – Brexit is still very much happening. The Verse’s Lottie Bulmer takes us on a whistle stop tour of how it will affect student life…

Officially, the United Kingdom left the European Union on January 1st, 2020. Undeterred by a global pandemic, currently no deal and a recession in the second quarter of the year – the transition period is due to come to an end when the clock strikes midnight this New Year’s Eve.

With 13.7% of University of Brighton’s student population[1] being international, we’ve compiled a list of things students from both the EU and UK need to know as Britain makes its lonely voyage into the unknown in 2021.

Let’s start with the basics:

I’m an EU student – can I continue on my course?

Well, the simple answer is yes – as long as you have applied for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Upon receipt of settled or pre-settled status, you will be able to continue to live and work in the UK, use the NHS for free (if you could before), start or continue studying, access benefits, pensions and other public funds (if you’re eligible for them) and to travel in and out of the UK. The deadline for applying is June 30, 2021 and you must have been living in the UK since December 31, 2020 to be eligible.

I was planning to come to Brighton from the EU in the New Year to study in September 2021. How does Brexit affect this now?

You may need to apply for a student visa. The applications will be open to you six months before the start of your course and you can apply once you have been offered a university place, granted you can pay for the course and are able to read and write in English. From January 1st, the visa applications will be subject to a point–based system where you will need to be able to score 70 points from a range of criteria.

And will I still pay the same fees as UK students?

Unfortunately, England, Scotland and Wales have confirmed that EU students will not be eligible for home fee status or have access to UK Government student loans from the academic year commencing from August 1st, 2021.

Even if I deferred my place from 2020?

Yep, even then.

There are some exceptions to the new rules however – Gov.uk says you may be able to still register for home status if you are able to ‘benefit from the citizens rights agreements’ or if ‘you are an Irish citizen living in the UK or Republic of Ireland – benefits of Irish citizens under the Common Travel Area arrangement will continue’.

I was planning on doing an Erasmus placement next year – can I still go?

It’s a tricky one with lockdown and uncertainty with Covid, but as far as the Brexit is concerned, Erasmus placements are still all go go go. They should continue as normal, but you should check with your placement contacts at university to see if there are any changes.

What about after I graduate? Will I still be able to remain in the UK?

Students who earn their Bachelors or Masters degrees from British universities are able to stay in the UK for two years after their degree upon completion of a graduate visa application. This type of visa allows students to stay in the UK to work or look for work and can be transferred to other forms of visa after you find a job. PHD students are able to stay with this visa track for three years.

For any further information, head over to gov.uk

[1] According to Studyin-uk.com

Featured image : Adobe stock


Lottie Bulmer

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