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FACT-CHECK: What does a no-deal Brexit mean for University of Edinburgh students?

With negotiators apparently making no progress with regards to the United Kingdom’s (UK) future trade relationship with the European Union (EU), Boris Johnson and EU leaders are warning that a no-deal Brexit is increasingly likely. 

In the event that negotiators can’t agree a deal before 31 December 2020, when the transition period will end and Britain will officially leave the EU, Britain will then trade with the EU subject to World Trade Organisation terms. 

Essentially the EU would impose tariffs on goods coming from Britain and vice-versa. 

But what does a no-deal Brexit mean for students at the University of Edinburgh? 

The Student looks at what we know so far. 

What will happen to EU nationals already studying at the university? 

Under the EU settlement scheme, any EU nationals living in the UK on or before 31 December can secure their right to residency and will continue to be able to study, work and access benefits and services in Britain. 

What about EU nationals that arrive after 31 December? 

Any EU nationals that arrive in the UK after 31 December will not be covered by the EU settlement scheme. 

They will instead have to apply for European temporary leave to remain but this only enables them to study and work in the UK for three years. 

Once their leave to remain expires, they will have to apply for a student visa under the future points-based immigration system, which will come into force from 1 January 2021. 

EU nationals can only apply for student visa if they: 

  • Have already been offered a place on a course 
  • Can speak, read, write and understand English 
  • Have enough money to support themselves and pay for their course 

If successful in obtaining a student visa, they will have the right to remain in the UK after they have finished their degree for up to two years, or three years if a PhD graduate. 

What fees will EU students have to pay? 

Continuing EU students and those that began their degree at the University of Edinburgh in the 2020-21 academic year will still receive their tuition for free, for the entirety of their degree.

But any EU students applying to study at the University of Edinburgh from the 2021-22 academic year onwards, will most likely have to pay international fees – which could be in excess of £22,000 per year. 

Will UK students still be able to participate in the Erasmus scheme? 

The future of the UK’s participation in the EU’s Erasmus scheme fell outside the parameters of the trade talks and so it remains unclear what will happen. 

Students currently participating in the scheme can continue to for the rest of the 2020-21 academic year. 

But it looks likely that after the 2020-21 academic year, UK students will no longer have access to the scheme. 

If the UK doesn’t reach a separate agreement with the EU about participation in the Erasmus scheme, the government has indicated that they will introduce their own global exchange programme for UK students. 

Will UK scientists still be able to access the EU’s Horizon research fund? 

As with the Erasmus scheme, the future of the UK’s access to the EU’s Horizon research fund fell out with the parameters of the trade talks and so it is still unclear what will happen. 

The EU have offered the UK continued access to the fund but at a cost of £15.2 billion, with the UK required to top-up that figure if they won funding for projects worth more than the £15.2 billion figure. 

But if the UK won less than £15.2 billion in research grants, they wouldn’t be reimbursed. 

The UK government is yet to indicate if they will accept this offer but they have previously said that they will provide replacement funding for scientists in Britain should they refuse the offer. 

Will UK nationals still be able to travel to the EU beyond 31 December? 

UK nationals will still be able to go on holiday to EU countries beyond 31 December but if they want to stay longer than 90 days, then they will have to apply for a visa. 

After 1 January 2021, European Union Health Insurance Cards will no longer be valid for UK nationals travelling in the EU and they will not have access to free healthcare in the EU. 

They will instead need to purchase travel insurance with healthcare included. 

The EU have announced that they will allow planes to keep flying between EU countries and the UK for a maximum period of six months. 

But planes will be subject to EU standards and safety regulations. 

With regards to passports, from 1 January 2021 UK nationals will need to have at least six months left on their passports to travel and they will lose access to priority EU passport lanes at borders.

Image: Public Domain Dedication  

By Lucy Saddler

News Editor.