Working with policymakers - LSE

What impact will Brexit have on higher education?

The Public Affairs team in LSE’s Communications Division works with political stakeholders in the UK and overseas to promote LSE’s research and expertise. 

Since the vote to leave the EU in June 2016, the team has been working to promote LSE’s academic expertise on Brexit and our corporate concerns over the potential impact on students, staff and research capabilities. 

Here you can see the evidence that LSE has submitted to Parliamentary Select Committees.

The impact of exiting the European Union on higher education

In 2016 the Education Select Committee launched an inquiry to look at the impact exiting the European Union would have on higher education.

The MPs who sit on this committee asked for written evidence to address a number of their questions such as ‘What protections should be in place for existing EU students and staff?’, ‘What are the risks and opportunities for students and staff?’ and ‘What should be the government's priorities during negotiations for the UK to exit the EU with regard to students and staff at higher education institutions?’.

LSE submitted written evidence to this inquiry with recommendations. You can read the full submission here or view a summary below.

 

Expand to see a summary of LSE's recommendations

  • The government should allow higher education institutions (HEIs) the best possible opportunities to compete internationally in the higher education market for the best students by having fewer barriers to post study work visas and student visas.
  • The uncertainty that the post-referendum Brexit debate has created is of significant concern to LSE. In particular, the lack of clarity over the future immigration status of non-UK EU nationals affects approximately one third of our current academic and administrative staff.
  • In the case of academics, there is no long-term alternative supply of UK nationals to fill a future recruitment gap if ‘Tier 2’ visa conditions were to become more restrictive.
  • While UK students could in principle benefit from Brexit if HEIs decide to fill places previously held by EU student applicants with UK students, there is a risk that in so doing the UK signals a lack of openness to the outside world. This would allow competitor institutions in the US, Australia and Europe (which increasingly teach in English) an opportunity to set out a more attractive proposition to the best international and EU students and academics on whom the UK depends to maintain its standards of higher education excellence.
  • Recruitment of international students is vital to the UK HEI business model  international student fees effectively subsidise places for UK domestic students, and help to fill the research funding gap.
  • The government must consider enhancing international research partnerships and increasing public investment in research and innovation so that we can attract the best academics. Research funding opportunities are a significant factor in staff recruitment.
  • Future restriction to or cessation of the UK’s access to Erasmus funding will work directly against the UK government’s social mobility agenda because the Erasmus+ programme targets the very students identified by the Government as under-represented in higher education. 

Developing a consensus on an effective immigration policy

In December 2016 the Home Affairs Select Committee launched an inquiry to look at developing a consensus on an effective immigration policy.

The MPs who sit on this committee asked for written evidence to address a number of their questions such as ‘What approach should the government take to different kinds of migration – for example skilled, unskilled, family migration, students and refugees?; What are the benefits and problems with different kinds and levels of migration, for the economy and society? And what approach should be taken to EU migration as part of the Brexit negotiations – for example, points-based systems, or work permits; and geographical variations?

Expand to see a summary of LSE's recommendations

  • LSE strongly recommends that the government should review its approach to post-study work visas. We recommend the government implements a two-year post-study work entitlement for EU students and that their current right to work while studying should remain unchanged.
  • We recommend that the UK should be seeking to ensure that existing EEA staff currently in the UK have the right to remain and work. There is no long-term alternative supply of UK nationals to fill a future recruitment gap if ‘Tier 2’ visa conditions were to become more restrictive for academics. LSE recruits some of the leading academics and talented researchers from across the world. We believe it is essential that any migration is based on a set of criteria where individuals with specialised skills have priority.  
  • If the government decides to introduce a points-based system, we recommend a heavier weighting on skills and less weighting on family circumstances.  

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