The UK Government now has a goal to reduce net migration to less than 100,000 a year. This arguably, is reflected by the creation of the ‘Higher Education and Research Act 2017’.
Despite the House of Lords proposed amendment to the Bill, stating that overseas students should not be treated as long-term migrants – this was rejected by the Prime Minister. Thus, the Government’s refusal to do so is putting at risk the higher education sector’s share of the international student market. This is again reflected by the number of EU undergraduates dropping by 7.4 per cent over the last year.
Labour MP, Wes Streeting states: “EU nationals studying here are an unambiguous good for our country. Their knowledge and drive has helped turn many of our universities into powerhouses of innovation, and they pump billions of pounds into our economy each year. “
The UK Government has confirmed EU students will continue to benefit from the stated benefits post Brexit.
The current benefits available to EU students will continue to apply in the academic years 2017/18 and 2018/19. It is clear that this will continue despite the undergraduate or master’s course concludes after the UK leaves the EU. This certainty will enable anyone to study in the UK, safe in the knowledge that financial assistance is available if need be.
Will EU Students have to apply for a Student Visa?
There is much uncertainty in this area as negotiations are ongoing. However, future EU students may need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa in order to study in the UK. The governments’ aim is to develop strategies to reduce the overall immigration figures, however it is not clear how the proposals will be enforced if at all.
What defines a Student?
Section 4 of the ‘Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006’ defines a student to be:
- A person enrolled, for the purpose of following a course of study at a public or private establishment.
- A person who has comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the United Kingdom
- A person who has sufficient resources not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the United Kingdom during his/her residence.
Eligible for Permanent Right of Residence?
Section 15 of the ‘Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006’ states an EEA National shall have the right to reside in the United Kingdom permanently once she/he has resided for a continuous period of five years in accordance with these regulations.
What does this mean?
Thus, if you are;
- an EEA National;
- in the United Kingdom for five years as;
- a qualified person according to ‘Section 6 of the Immigration (European Economic Area) Regulations 2006’
You can apply for Permanent Residence which is equivalent to ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’.
If you need specialist advice catered to your specific circumstances, contact us now!
Please note: The migration status of EU Nationals in the UK is being discussed, thus for further information please refer to our recent blog post ‘Brexit and EU Residents in the UK’