EU citizens “put off” studying and working in UK post-Brexit

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Credit: Kirsten Colligan

Georgina Hayes
Editor

A targeted survey of Glasgow University students by The Glasgow Guardian has found that more than three quarters of current EU students have been “put off” applying to work or study in the UK post-Brexit. The survey asked 64 respondents if uncertainty around freedom of movement and the UK economy specifically has put them off applying for jobs or further study in the UK.

A French citizen currently studying a PhD in the UK has said: “The situation is extremely confusing for us, and overall the general climate of instability and defiance towards EU citizens means I probably won’t try and settle in the UK at the end of my PhD, although I had considered doing so before the Brexit referendum.

“There are 26 other nations proposing us to come work without having to deal with a cruel and indecisive immigration office; we are not going to stick around much longer if things keep going in the direction they’re currently taking.”

Another PhD student from the EU commented: “I’m concerned about the uncertainty surrounding EU citizens’ future access to the NSH and pensions. I’d like to continue to live and work in the UK after I graduate, but it’s impossible to say right now if that’s a realistic option.”

Similarly, 68% of students from the UK currently studying in Glasgow have responded to say that they have also been “put off” applying for jobs and degrees in Europe, with many also citing economic uncertainty and concerns about freedom of movement as their reason.

One British student currently looking to work in the EU has said: “When I have asked employers about job security, as soon as I’ve told them that I’m a British citizen I’ve been given uncomfortable looks and vague answers. Because nothing is set in stone, employers are reluctant to give me a proper answer.”

In light of the findings, Higher Education Minister Richard Lochhead has told The Glasgow Guardian:

“Brexit is the single biggest risk to our colleges and universities, threatening the ability to attract and retain EU staff and students and continue vital research.

“Last month, colleges, universities, trade unions and the Scottish Government agreed a joint statement which, amid the current chaos, sends a clear, powerful message that colleges and universities will use their collective influence to press for much needed answers from the UK Government.

“We will also work to retain our historic links with our European partners and ensure they are in no doubt that Scotland continues to welcome EU citizens to study or work here.”

Of 43 students from the UK that responded to the survey, only 24% said that economic uncertainty post-Brexit has not made their decision to work or study in the EU more difficult.

29 students from the EU currently studying in Glasgow responded, and only 3 of those respondents said that Brexit has not put them off remaining in the UK to work.