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Oxford and Cambridge Struggle to Hire EU Talent Thanks to Brexit

  • Top U.K. universities seek clarity over EU citizens’ rights
  • Russell Group makes 10 proposals to minimize uncertainty

The U.K.’s top universities say they are struggling to hire talented European Union academics and it’s the fault of Brexit. So they put down 10 proposals for Prime Minister Theresa May.

Britain should provide certainty to EU citizens residing in Britain -- and those seeking to come to the country -- on the nature of their post-Brexit rights as soon as possible, according to an alliance of 24 universities including Oxford and Cambridge known as the Russell Group.

“We value our EU colleagues and want them to stay,” Russell Group head of policy Jessica Cole said. “Universities and EU staff and students need to be able to plan for the future with confidence.”

Here is their wish list:

  • Ensure academics and students can spend periods of time studying abroad without affecting their “continuous residence” that’s a requirement for getting U.K. citizenship.
  • Develop residency application system that places the “minimum burden” on applicants.
  • Automatically contact people who are eligible for “settled” status.
  • Grant “settled” status automatically to those with permanent residence.
  • Keep application costs to a minimum.
  • Set the cut-off date for those eligible to stay as the date Britain leaves the EU.
  • Provide assurance to EU students starting studies this year and next that they’ll be able to stay in Britain after they’ve completed their courses.
  • Minimize uncertainty for families of EU academics and students.
  • Develop clear guidelines for universities and other businesses employing EU nationals
  • Ensure U.K. qualifications continue to be recognized across borders.

Negotiating the rights of EU citizens in Britain and those of Britons in the rest of the bloc is one of the priority areas for Brexit talks that began in June. Last month, Britain outlined its proposals to resolve the matter, falling short of EU demands that rights be unchanged on Brexit Day. 

May wants to make in-roads as EU lead negotiator Michel Barnier has said “sufficient progress” must be made towards an agreement on citizens before talks can move on to trade.

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