Education and skills

Will services be affected?

The Welsh Government is working closely with the education sector to assess and mitigate the potential impact of a no deal Brexit on schools, further education institutions and our universities.

Although schools should not be directly affected by a no deal in the immediate term, issues arising in other sectors could have a knock-on impact. We are working closely with local authorities to prepare for these in advance so services are maintained for learners.

Further education institutions should not face any immediate impacts, but we are monitoring and working with the sector to prepare. In the longer-term, we have made it clear that the EU funding which many of our colleges have benefitted from must be replaced in full after the UK leaves the EU to continue their strong record of building Wales’ skills base and spreading opportunity.

The Welsh higher education sector is proud of its global reach and scope and we support the views of university leaders that the UK leaving the EU without a deal is one of the biggest threats our universities have ever faced. They make a significant contribution to the Welsh economy, jobs, public services and culture in Wales and it is vital they are protected.

Soon after the EU referendum, the Welsh Government set up a Higher Education Brexit Working Group to provide advice about the implications of Brexit for the higher education sector in Wales.

To support our universities, we have provided extra funding to Higher Education Funding for Wales (HEFCW) to help it to deal with the initial implications of EU transition and we have funded international partnerships in a number of priority markets, including the USA and Vietnam.

We will continue to welcome people from the EU to work or study at universities in Wales. 

From March 30 2019, EU citizens and their families can apply for the Home Office’s Settled Status scheme. This will enable them to continue to live and work in Wales following Brexit

If you are an EU citizen, have EU staff or are recruiting from the EU, the Home Office has published the following advice:

  • EU citizens in the UK – Stay Informed, provides information about the citizens’ rights agreement and the Settlement Scheme for EU citizens in the UK.
  • if EU citizens want to stay in the UK beyond 31 December 2020, they and their close family members will need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The scheme will open fully by March 2019. 
  • a toolkit has been launched to equip employers with tools and information to support EU citizens and their families about the EU Settlement Scheme.

EU nationals who intend to study in Wales for the academic year 2019-20 will be eligible to pay the same tuition fees as Welsh students and will be eligible to receive loans or grants from Student Finance Wales. Students will be eligible to receive support until they finish their course.

EU students should speak to their university’s student finance office or the visit the Student Finance Wales website for more information about the support available.

To protect higher education in Wales, the Welsh Government has been clear that the UK government should:

  • maintain our engagement in Horizon 2020 and other EU-led research schemes
  • have reciprocal arrangements for student tuition fees so Welsh students studying in the EU pay local student fee levels and EU students studying in Wales are treated as UK students for the purpose of fees and the costs of study
  • continue to participate in the Erasmus+ scheme for staff and student exchanges
  • have guarantees for visa and citizenship status of EU nationals working in UK universities
  • not count students in national migration statistics
  • allow participation by Welsh universities in the post-study work visa scheme currently being piloted in 4 English universities
  • actively promote greater outward mobility by students and staff studying and working in Welsh universities.

Following a request by the Welsh Government, the Home Office confirmed the post-study work visa scheme pilot would be extended to 2 universities in Wales – Cardiff University and University of Wales Trinity St David (Swansea campus). We want to see this extended to all Welsh institutions.

Our participation in the Horizon 2020 and Erasmus schemes from January 2021 will depend on the UK’s future economic relationship with the EU and whether the UK government secures third country participation in these programmes on behalf of the UK.

More information is available at the Horizon 2020 Q&A, including detail about the guarantee; the extension to the guarantee and how the UK will continue to support research and innovation after exit day.

We continue to seek confirmation the UK government will replace research funding sources from those which we may be excluded from when the UK leaves the EU on March 29 2019. In particular, we are awaiting explicit assurances that if the UK is unable to participate in the European Research Council and Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions funding schemes, which support world-leading breakthroughs, that alternatives will be created with the same level of funding.

We have welcomed the shared ambition of the UK government and the EU about a future agreement for the mutual recognition of professional qualifications (MRPQ), which will help the FE and HE sectors to attract international students.

In a no deal Brexit scenario, there is a risk that some businesses could make apprentices redundant. If that should happen, the Welsh Government will do all it can to find an alternative employer willing to take on the apprentice and we will support the apprentice during that process.

Following Brexit, the rules about how personal data flows between the EU and the UK will change. Visit the Information Commissioner’s website to find out more about how these changes will affect you or your organisation.

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