Brexit: Checkmate for International Students?
With pressure rising and clocks ticking, Marc Johnson, a Law lecturer from Truman Bodden Law School, defined Brexit as a source of an ‘emotionally-charged debate’ which has the potential to significantly impact the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty in the United Kingdom. Where such a fundamental principle of the country’s constitution is to be affected, some may wonder if they have made the right vote during the referendum, while others may imagine the impact of Brexit on the country’s politics and economy. Hence, it is no mystery that many international students intending to study or work in the United Kingdom will question what this would mean for them.
With regards to academic opportunities, the good news is that UK universities appear to be in favour of offering international students spots in their institutions. A whopping 75 percent of UK universities made their voices heard, desiring the number of international students to remain the same or escalate. To show their enthusiasm, many of them took part in the #WeAreInternational campaign which tackles negativity on the media regarding international students and directly encourages international applications even in the title itself. However, even though universities have extended their welcome with open arms, the government has openly considered plans to limit student immigration. Hence, it would be difficult to predict whether this welcome would be reflected in future policies.
It is also important to note the effects of Brexit on the Pound Sterling as tuition fees and living expenses in the UK is not the cheapest. After Brexit, economists predicted that the value of the Pound would fall, thus lightening the financial burden on international students. Despite that, students from the EU who previously pay the same tuition fees as British students may expect an increase in fees and lose access to financial aid in the future. As a result, this may pose a challenge for them to pursue a British higher education.
On another note, Brexit has also brought some changes to the workforce. International students in the UK are allowed to work part-time with a maximum of 20 hours a week and this has not been affected by Brexit. Better yet, the government has brought back a pre-2012 policy which offers international students a two-year work visa upon graduation. This was seen as a move to attract talents from around the world and grow the pool of international students in the country. However, the visas are only available for those graduating in the summer of 2021 or later, attracting dissatisfaction from those who will not benefit from it.
As a holistic summary, while the UK boasts a handful of top-tier universities, it is important for international students to consider the impacts of post-Brexit on them before deciding to transfer to the UK.
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