Britain is less than 2 months away from leaving the European Union. The faith of the British public in the government’s ability to deliver orderly Brexit is dwindling. In the current atmosphere of disillusionment and uncertainty, it seems that Britain is facing two possible, barely satisfactory outcomes – a no deal Brexit, or an extension of Article 50. In both cases, there are many unknowns.
However, unsatisfactory as the situation may seem, the government has made some provisions for EU citizens currently resident in the UK, who wish to remain here to live or study. Keen to reassure them and their families that they are welcome, the government stated in its guidance paper: “EU citizens are our friends, our neighbours and our colleagues; we highly value their contribution to the social, economic and cultural fabric of the UK, and we want them to stay.” According to the paper, EU citizens and their families resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be able to remain, while retaining their entitlement to benefits, services, healthcare and education, on the same basis as now; their rights will be protected even in the scenario of a ‘no deal’ Brexit.
In case of a ‘no deal’, EU citizens living in the UK by 29 March 2019 will have to apply for status under the EU Settlement scheme, securing their status in UK law; applications will have to be made by 31st December 2020. Their existing family members will be able to join them by 29 March 2022, but the new Immigration system will be implemented from 1st January 2021.
The children of EU residents – as any child resident in the UK – can apply for and access a school place in England irrespective of migration status, and this will continue after the UK’s exit from the EU; even in the case of a ‘no deal’ Brexit children’s access to education will remain.
As for universities, there are 135,000 EU students currently at UK universities – and about 36,000 academic staff. At present, EU students pay fees at the same level as UK students. The government has already made assurances that for the first university intake after Brexit, in autumn 2019, there will be no changes to the EU students loan eligibility or fee status; and this guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU. Here at Gabbitas, we are constantly searching for any additional information regarding education, and will publish it as soon as it becomes available. Watch this space.