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Government must introduce post-Brexit permit to attract European academics and students, universities say

‘Skilled Europeans looking to come to UK face a visa vacuum post Brexit’

Eleanor Busby
Education Correspondent
Friday 14 September 2018 00:22 BST
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Under the proposed scheme, successful applicants would have the right to work or study in the UK for up to five years
Under the proposed scheme, successful applicants would have the right to work or study in the UK for up to five years (PA)

The government must introduce a new permit for skilled workers and students from Europe to ensure they still come to the UK after Brexit, leading universities have said.

The Russell Group, often considered among the best 24 institutions in the country, has warned that continued uncertainty raises serious problems for employers in Britain.

It is calling for the introduction of a European skills permit for students and qualified workers – including academics.

Under the proposed scheme, successful applicants would have the right to work or study in the UK for up to five years.

Dr Tim Bradshaw, chief executive of the Russell Group, warned: “The prime minister has made clear that freedom of movement will end whether we have a Brexit deal or not.

“As things stand, skilled Europeans considering coming here in the next few years face a visa vacuum and may head elsewhere, while the UK misses out.”

European Economic Area (EEA) migrants account for around a quarter of academics and tens of thousands of students study here each year, the universities highlighted.

The Russell Group says the proposal would boost the country's knowledge economy at a time when the UK needs to become more competitive, and would support the UK's businesses as much as its universities.

It adds that the proposal has been put forward amid concerns the Home Office may seek to include EEA nationals in the current points-based system for migrants from other parts of the world.

A government spokesperson said: Both the UK and the EU are committed to delivering a deal that works for both sides.

“Decisions about our future immigration system will be based on evidence, which is why we have asked the independent Migration Advisory Committee to assess the economic and social impact that EU citizens have on the UK.”

Additional reporting by PA

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