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Russell Group Universities Call for Brexit Clarity

Posted by Richard Ward in ,

Image courtesy of Flickr, Creative Commons

The Russell Group of universities, which represents 24 of the country's most respected academic institutions, has published 10 demands which they argue Theresa May must meet to ensure higher education is not damaged by Brexit.

Among the demands being put forward by the group is one that "those with Permanent Residence should be transferred automatically to settled status" with the group arguing there "is no need to re-assess these individuals' right to be in the UK."

They also suggested that where it is possible to identify those from government held data, those eligible for temporary leave or settled status should automatically be transferred, thereby removing uncertainty.

The Russell Group also urged the Government to offer reassurance that EU students starting courses in 2017 and 2018 will be able to stay and work here after their studies and be eligible for settled status after accruing five years residence.

In addition to the 10 demands, the renowned institutions have also demanded Theresa May rethink her plan to strip some EU citizens of the right to remain, if they leave the country for more than two years.

The paper said: "Whilst this is the UK Government's first position for the negotiations, this lack of clarity is causing considerable concern for EU nationals at our universities and impacting on our ability to recruit talented staff from the EU."

Academics have been expressing their fears of a Brexit brain drain in the higher education sector, and head of policy for the Russell Group, Jessica Cole, said: "Brexit is causing uncertainty and anxiety for EU staff, who need clarity over their future rights as soon as possible."

In response to the demands laid out, a Government spokesperson said they had been clear about the commitment to the UK's higher education sector. They added: "The Government wants to reach a reciprocal agreement for EU citizens in Britain and UK nationals in Europe as quickly as possible. We are developing a new application process and will ensure that it is as light-touch, streamlined and user-friendly as possible."