Following on from last night’s decision by MPs in the House of Commons to formally allow the Prime Minister, Theresa May, to trigger Brexit proceedings, we’re taking a look at what sort of impact it will have on international students in the UK.
First up though, what even is Brexit?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past six months, those of you in the UK already (and those further afield) will have no doubt heard of Brexit. In fact, its recently dominated the news so much, we’ve hardly heard of anything else! But you may still be unsure of what it even means, let alone the impacts it could have on your life in the UK.
Back in June 2016, UK citizens voted to leave the European Union (EU) in a referendum with one of the highest voter turnouts the country has even seen. Over 30 million people cast their vote, with the ‘Leave’ campaign winning by 52% to 48%. The term ‘Brexit’ is simply a short hand way of referring to this decision, combing ‘Britain’ and ‘exit’.
And what will be the effects of this decision? In short, nobody knows yet. The Prime Minister must trigger Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon (sort of like the EU constitution) in order to begin negotiations to leave the EU. No negotiations can be made beforehand. Theresa May has previously announced her intention to trigger Article 50 by March 2017. Once announced, the government have two years in order to conduct negotiations about what sort of deal the UK will have with the EU once out of it. This includes things like trade, immigration, laws, and so on. If Article 50 is triggered at the end of March 2017, the UK will officially be out of the EU by April 2019.
So, what will this mean for you, international students in the UK?
Again, no one really knows. However, the fall of the pound against almost all international currency has meant that life in the UK is a much cheaper option for international students. Current exchange rates (correct as of 9th Feb 2017) include £1 to 1.26 US Dollar, £1 to 8.62 Chinese Yen, and £1 to 5.57 Malaysian Ringgit. Because of this, British universities could also stand to receive an additional £227 million in tuition fees as enrolments from international students rise by 9%. A further increase in funding of £187 million could also come through, if the Government decide to charge European students the international rates. Increased funding to universities should then mean better facilities, staff, and courses being offered to students.
Potential future plans include the creation of an ‘Erasmus Plus Plus’ scheme, in which the current restrictions on the Erasmus exchange programme are widened to allow students from across the world to participate. This would mean that international students from countries such as China, India, and the United States could complete exchange programmes with UK universities with the opportunities for scholarships and funding. Speaking to The Telegraph last month, Professor Catherine Barnard, Head of EU Law at the University of Cambridge, also described how relaxing current visa regulations could help offset the decline in applications from EU students. Something the Government may consider when working with the universities to attract new students to the UK.
No matter how Brexit turns out, ApplicationUK will always be here to help you through your postgraduate application process, and make your introduction to student life in the UK as smooth as possible.
ApplicationUK‘s easy-to-use online application portal provides a simple solution to postgraduate application stress. With its smart digital self-assessment tool, personalised application plan, and application tracking system, you can be rest assured that your application will go through smoothly. Our experienced counsellors are also here to provide expert advice, reassurance, and continuous support.