The MAC took evidence from a range of employers, government departments and industry bodies, including Universities UK.
Responding to the report, Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: "It is good to see the MAC acknowledging many of the positive impacts that skilled European workers have on life in the UK. There are nearly 50,000 EU nationals working in UK universities and they make a vitally important contribution to our campuses and communities. There has been a lot of uncertainty for international staff following the Brexit vote and it's important now that this is addressed as a final Brexit deal is reached.
"In particular, we welcome the recommendations which extend and increase the flexibility of the Tier 2 visa which would help with the recruitment of a broader range of workers and skills than the current system allows. The ability to recruit international staff at a broad range of skill levels, and with minimal barriers, is vital to the continued, global success of our universities.
"We hope the UK government now develops promptly a reshaped immigration system that encourages talented international university staff to choose the UK. If not, we risk losing them to other countries. This does not relate only to international academics and researchers, but also to highly trained international technical and support staff who play such an important role in our universities as well."
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) report on the impact of EEA migration in the UK is available to download from the MAC website.
According to the latest data, there are nearly 50,000 (49,530) EU staff working in UK higher education institutions (latest HESA data – 2016/17). This represents 12% of the total staff population of 419,710. This is broken down to: 17% of total academic staff at UK universities, or 35,920, are from other EU countries. Among professional services / support staff at UK universities, 6% or 13,610 are from other EU countries. This compares to a total of 33,820 non-EU staff, who make up 8% of total staff. Of total academic staff, 13% (25,660) had a non-EU nationality. Among all professional services / support staff, 4% (8,160) had a non-EU nationality.
In December 2017, Universities UK highlighted the vital contribution EU staff make to the UK's universities with our #BrightestMinds campaign. It included a collection of case studies highlighting the research and stories of leading EU academics working in UK universities. It illustrated the world-class research carried out by European staff in the UK and how this could be hindered by any further Brexit uncertainty.
In March 2018, Universities UK published a Brexit statement paper – How can government ensure universities are best-placed to maximise their contribution to a successful, global UK post-EU exit? It is available to download.