Initial Brexit deal good news for universities

8 December 2017

Universities UK has welcomed the initial Brexit agreement, but stressed that phase two of the negotiations will be hugely important for universities.

Alistair Jarvis, Chief Executive of Universities UK said: "The phase one exit deal is positive news for universities and provides some welcome progress on a number of issues which Universities UK has been calling on government to address.

"It is welcome news that an agreement has finally been reached on citizens' rights, which has long been universities' first priority for Brexit negotiations. Today's announcement means that the 46,000 EU nationals working across the UK university sector have clarity that they can remain and work in the UK and gain settled status. We also welcome the confirmation that people with settled status will be able to spend up to five consecutive years outside the UK without losing this status.

"It is positive news that the budget settlement reached means that UK universities, students and researchers will continue to be able to participate in valuable programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+ until at least the end date of current programmes.

"Phase two of the negotiations is hugely important for universities. Universities UK will continue to work with the UK government and officials in Brussels to secure an effective post-exit settlement for universities. To ensure universities can deliver maximum impact post-exit, this should include negotiating access to the next European research and innovation programme (FP9) and to the Erasmus+ mobility programme. Developing a post-exit immigration system, with minimal barriers to allow talented European staff and students to work and study in the UK, is a priority."


  1. ​Before today's agreement, Universities UK published a collection of case studies highlighting the research and stories of leading EU academics working in UK universities. For more on the campaign, see: Brightest minds: why our universities need the vital contribution of EU staff
  2. 17% (33,735) of academic staff and 6% (12,490) of professional services staff at UK universities are from other EU countries.
  3. For more information on Universities UK's Brexit policy priorities prior to the first phase of negotiations, see our briefing document

Key Contacts

Steven Jefferies

Steven Jefferies

Head of Media
Universities UK

Eloise Phillips

Eloise Phillips

Media Officer
Universities UK

Clara Plackett

Clara Plackett

Senior Media Officer
Universities UK


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