An increasing number of international students have become cautious about the USA President Trump’s intentions and immigration policy plans and have shifted direction towards the UK. This is obvious given the UK’s track record of having an established education system that is on par with the USA’s. While an increasing number of current applicants to UK universities have been reported, one thing which is still making people skeptic about is Brexit.
Following Theresa May’s resignation over Brexit, Boris Johnson took charge of the office as Britain’s new Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street on July 24, 2019.
Right from his campaigning days, Boris Johnson has been driving towards a no-deal Brexit and visa friendly immigration system. Before I talk about how Indian students looking to study in the UK are set to benefit, let us understand what exactly Brexit is and its implications.
Brexit is a portmanteau of the words Britain and Exit. It is a withdrawal treaty for the United Kingdom (UK) to part ways from the European Union. The European Union is the political and economic cooperation between 28 European countries (out of 51 countries in Europe) with an idea to live as one country. This allowed people from all the countries in the EU to travel and trade freely, and live or work in whichever country they wanted.
This concept of uniting 28 countries arose due to the fact that these countries used to fight a lot between themselves, World war - ll being a prime example. Hence the EU was formed to integrate these European countries together.
The merging of countries allowed the free flow of people, goods, services, and capital between its countries. Common rules have been established among all the countries to avoid confusion, which is similar to how the United States function. This resulted in economic prosperity and peace throughout Europe.
While prosperity was shared by all the countries, the same was warranted during hardships as well. Take the recession in 2008 for example. Due to this, people from poorer and less successful countries in the European Union who could not find a job immigrated to richer countries like the UK. This eventually resulted in lesser opportunities for UK people in their own homeland.
The UK joined the EU in the year 1973 and is the first country to withdraw so far. Following a referendum held on June 23, 2016, over 30 million people have voted and decided to go with Brexit, which is to leave the European Union, with a narrow win by 51.9% to 48.1%. Since that date, a long 2-year exit process has been going on. The UK was initially set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, and the date was later moved to October 31, 2019. However, this did not happen and ultimately the exit will now be happening on or before January 31, 2020.
Under the Brexit deal, the UK is supposed to pay a hefty £39 billion to the EU as a separation cost, in addition to other trade and rights of residence agreements.
If the UK MPs and the EU could not come up with a settlement by the deadline date, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has vowed to go with a no-deal Brexit. It means that the European Union Law and other agreements between the EU and UK will cease to exist, and the UK will be free of the £39 billion divorce bill, and make its own trade and other deals with the world.
Owing to this, Prime Minister Boris Johnson sanctioned an extra £2.1 billion of funding to prepare for the no-deal Brexit.
It is a long and painful process for the EU and UK to come to an agreement or face the consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Let us look at some of the implications on the UK and EU due to this move.
Although most people in the UK believe that leaving the EU will have a damaging effect on UK education and career prospects, It will continue to thrive, given its already established education system. Below are a few reasons supporting this.
Post-Brexit, the Europeans who will want to study in the UK will have to shell out additional tuition fees like other non-UK students as opposed to paying the same lesser amounts as UK students earlier.
This will, in turn, reduce the number of European students applying for UK universities drastically. As a result, the UK’s leading universities will try to attract more overseas students from India and China to overcome financial challenges.
The British High Commissioner to India, Dominic Asquith has described the newly built UK Government by Prime Minister Boris Johnson as ‘the most Desi Cabinet ever’. This is because more personalities in the Cabinet are of Indian origin than ever before.
He has assured that revising immigration rules in a way that they are favorable to Indians will be a focus for the current government. Mr. Johnson, on the other hand, has plans to convert their present immigration system post-Brexit and make it similar to Australia's point-based system.
This system allows an immigrant to enter the UK if they score enough points by meeting the criteria set by the UK government.
The points criteria are based on fields like education qualification, work experience, skill level, language ability and so on. These criteria will be formed based on the UK’s goals and priorities.
Introducing this type of immigration system will be fairer as it is dependent on one's skill and not on the total cap on immigrant numbers.
However, the UK already has a point-based system known as ‘Partial Point-based System’. This immigration system is divided into 4 tier Visa systems wherein the immigrants are awarded points based on employer’s sponsorship, salary limit, language fluency, maintenance funds, and other requirements.
As the current partial point-based immigration system seems unwelcoming to international students, Mr. Johnson’s proposal will improve the overall immigration system and make it more visa friendly.
Below are a few foreseeable targets and changes in immigration rules, which if put into motion will encourage more Indians to study in the UK.
Update: As mentioned above, in September 2019, Mr. Boris Johnson’s government has reinstated UK’s 2-year Post-Study Work Rights.
On 13th December 2019, UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his conservatives party had a sweeping victory in the elections. This was the biggest victory since Margaret Thatcher and this only confirms Britain’s exit from the EU on January 31, 2020. A record 15 Indian origin candidates also register thumping victory in this election, acting as a sign of happy times ahead for Indian students.
With Britain fast approaching the Brexit deadline and conscious planning happening within the soon to be formed Boris Johnson led UK government to elevate its international stand on education, the UK is all set to challenge other top study abroad destinations like the USA, Canada, and Australia.
Ubergrad.com is a D-I-Y (Do-It-Yourself) study abroad platform that is democratizing the way students APPLY and ENROLL at top universities overseas for graduate studies. You don't need to go to any person/agency for help. You can do it all by yourself from the comfort of your home !!
In case, you need help at any stage of the process – from ‘shortlisting’ universities to finally ‘enrolling’ at your chosen university abroad, Ubergrad's Expert Counsellors are always available and are just a phone call away (Book a call by clicking on "Talk to Ubergrad Counsellor" button).