How Does Brexit Affect International Students?

Last updated on 13 Jun 2024
How Does Brexit Affect International Students?


By Alisha Kusuma Oceani

The topic of Brexit has been dominating the U.K. political landscape since the referendum announcement in 2016.

As we are approaching the date of the U.K departure from the E.U in May 2019, the referendum result shockwaves every sector in the country. One of the main areas that raise concern is the U.K. Higher Education Sector.

The impact of Brexit understandably creates anxiety for university leaders. In the meantime, there are no significant changes for international students or academic staff until the withdrawal settles and negotiating window closes; although the full implications of Brexit on international students in high-level education is yet to be known.

The international students' population in the U.K. are accounted as immigration figures as they have contributed substantially to the country. There is almost one in five international students in higher education in the U.K, with more than half of postgraduate students from outside the country. Moreover, according to a London Economics report, During the length of their studies, international students spend over £22.6 billion (US$29.9 billion) and EU students of GB£5.1 billion (US$6.7 billion) to universities in the U.K.

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Then Whom Will Be Affected By Brexit?

If you are from anywhere outside EU and regarded ‘international student’, you will not have to bear consequences on your study plans in the United Kingdom.

The visa requirements will be handled in the same way as it is currently. The regulation for EU citizen students, however, may change as the result of Brexit. It is likely that Brexit will adjust the condition for the worse. We are just don’t know what kind of changes will be made.

It is harder to predict the stability of the tuition fee. E.U. students will experience tuition increase if they are no longer treated like domestic British students. International students, however, may have adjusted fees pertinent to the possible economic turmoil brought about a potential “Hard Brexit” that makes GBP currency value decline making studies in the UK affordable in the short term.

Currently, the United Kingdom is ranked second in the world for its international higher education system, but they are threatened to subside due to potentially higher tuition fees and unwelcoming atmosphere post-Brexit.

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Is the United Kingdom Still An Attractive Place to Study?


Despite Brexit, London is still the most popular study destination than any other city in 2017. The fears of the U.K. impeding separation from the E.U made the U.K a less appealing study destination is debunked by the data that suggests London maintains its global appeal.

Universities and government have been working side by side to create actions plans that will favor the longevity of students to travel far and wide for their studies by keeping students globally mobile and feel welcome. The Higher Level Institutions committee in Europe aims to develop a post-exit immigration system that has minimal barriers to allow talented students and academics worldwide to work and study in Europe as a priority.

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Studying In the United Kingdom

If you plan to study in a U.K. university in the next few years, go to the respective university website of your choice to know more about their position on Brexit.

Some of the universities guarantee Brexit won't affect your status with regards to tuition fees. However, since the visa regulations are being taken care of by the government, the universities won’t have a role in that matter if there were unforeseeable changes.

For students who are already enrolled and who are worried about their current status in the U.K., go refer to your respective international student services offices for information and advice. Each student’s circumstance will vary, and your ISS offices will be the most suitable source to use.

The topic of Brexit has continuously eclipsed UK political landscape especially as we are nearing the enactment of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union in May 2019. Even before the withdrawal process begins, the referendum result shockwaves every sector of the country, and one of the main area to raise concern is the UK Higher Education Sector.

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