Brexit information

The UK’s decision to leave the European Union is a landmark moment in the nation’s history. It has significant implications for the UK and EU and has understandably left many of our students, staff and the wider University community with questions that cannot be easily answered.

In the short term however, as the government decides the best way forward and negotiates the terms of the UK’s exit, we do not anticipate any disruption to the employment or education of our staff and students.

The University of Surrey remains committed to diversity and will continue to work with and support staff, students, alumni and partners from the EU. Their contribution to the University community and society as a whole is invaluable. Over the coming months we will be working closely with Universities UK and higher education bodies from across the UK to urge the government to ensure students and staff from EU countries can continue to study and work in the UK once the UK leaves the EU. We will also be working hard to ensure the UK can continue to participate in valuable EU research collaborations and funding programmes.

Current status

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty has been triggered, which means the government has formerly started the process of extracting the UK from the EU. A complex negotiation process requiring the involvement of all 27 remaining Member States and the European Commission is currently taking place, looking at all the agreements that have been reached during the UK’s 40-year membership of the EU. This will cover everything from access to the Single Market, to joint action on sanctions and will also involve crucial discussions around the UK’s post-exit arrangements with the EU.

As this is the first time any Member State has voted to leave the EU, there is a great deal of uncertainty about how long it will take, however it is expected to be around two years.This means that there will be no immediate change to the immigration status of EU staff and students or those about to start a course in the coming academic year (2016/17).

Specific information

Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science has confirmed that there will be no immediate changes to the immigration status of EU students. The UK’s vote to leave the EU will not lead to any immediate change to the tuition fees paid by current EU students studying at UK universities – EU students will continue to be entitled to pay the same fees as UK students for the duration of their study (visit our fees section for more information).

EU students who are currently eligible to receive loans and grants from the Student Loans Company will continue to do so until they finish their course.

If you are currently overseas on an Erasmus+ placement or considering applying to participate in the Erasmus+ scheme next year (2016/17), you will not be affected by the outcome of the referendum. It is not yet known whether students will be able to apply to participate in Erasmus+ from 2017/18 onwards, but we are working closely with Universities UK to urge the government to negotiate continued access for the UK to this valuable exchange programme.

As of 21 April 2017, the Department for Education released a statement announcing:

EU students applying for an undergraduate or master’s course at an English university or further education institution in the 2018 to 2019 academic year will continue to have access to student loans and grants, even if the course concludes after the UK's exit from the EU.

The longer-term implications for EU students who want to apply to study in the UK are not yet known and will depend on the UK government’s exit negotiations with the 27 remaining Member States and European Commission.

EU students who apply to study at the University for the 2018/19 and 2019/20 academic years will continue to be charged the UK (Home) fee rate applicable at the time for the duration of their studies, and will have access to the UK system of loans. These fees may be subject to annual increases (visit our fees and funding page for more information).

The government has confirmed that in the short term, there will be no changes to UK visa policies for University staff currently employed by, or applying to, work in UK universities.

Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, has also confirmed there will be no immediate change to the UK’s higher education sector’s ability to participate in EU research and innovation programmes such as Horizon 2020. Until the UK’s participation in European science programmes is agreed as part of the exit negotiations, the UK will continue to be eligible to apply for EU research grants and take part in EU programmes.

The University of Surrey values diversity and believes staff and students from outside the UK make a valuable contribution to its community. We will therefore be working closely with Universities UK and other higher education bodies to urge the government to ensure staff and students can continue to work and study at the University once the UK leaves the EU.

Please check the Brexit information pages on SurreyNet for further information for staff (internal users only).

The University of Surrey values diversity and continues to welcome applications from qualified researchers, scientists, academics, professionals and support staff from the EU

It is important to reiterate that until a time in the future when the United Kingdom exits the EU, it remains a full member of the EU and rights and obligations continue to fully apply in, and to, the UK – meaning there are no changes to the status of EU citizens in the UK.

If you are a citizen of one of the following European Economic Area (EEA) countries or Switzerland, you have the continued right to work in the UK:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Cyprus
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Netherlands
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Sweden

The government stated on 11 July 2016 that: “When we do leave the EU, we fully expect that the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states, will be properly protected."

If, after reading this, you are still unsure of your eligibility to freely work and live in the UK as an EU national, you are welcome to contact us via our Human Resources team, who are on hand to offer support and advice to applicants interested in applying for our current vacancies.