Brexit Day — We Are International — We Are European

Yesterday, the Students’ Union celebrated wining Varsity for the fifth year running. It was a great achievement and we could not be prouder of our Sports Officer, Em Roche. However, the day was clouded by the fact that the UK has triggered Article 50 giving formal notification of withdrawal from the European Union. This has officially started the two-year period of negotiations between the UK and the EU to reach an agreement around the future collaboration, status and rights conferred to the UK in relation to the EU.

It is expected that throughout this two-year window, the UK will remain a full member of the EU and no immediate change will happen. The University has confirmed that European students are still classed under Home fees and are still eligible for the SFE loan for 2017–18. UK researchers remain eligible to apply for Horizon 2020 and other EU funding schemes throughout the period of the negotiations. The Erasmus scheme will run as we know it for the following years. The rights of EU students remain the same for now.

We cannot predict how all of the above will change, as it will be dependent on negotiations. It is important, nevertheless, to prepare for the possibility of a change in status for EU citizens. We are aware that many of our EU students, staff and their families are worried and are looking at residence requirements. It is essential that you are fully aware of the fact that Permanent Residency requirements for EU students include having CSI (Comprehensive Sickness Insurance).

There is no need to panic. The Home Office has said that students who do not have CSI, will not be removed or prevented from re-entering the UK and you will also get access to free NHS treatment if you need it. However, you might be in the situation where your Permanent Residency application is refused based on that. Our advice at this time is to make sure that you do meet residence requirements and regularly check websites like UKCISA https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/ and Free Movement https://www.freemovement.org.uk/ for updates on Brexit and the status of EU students in UK.

The Student Union’s Student Advice Centre can offer individual advice to students with EU residence queries and help with residence applications. Email advice@sheffield.ac.uk to make an appointment and/or visit https://su.sheffield.ac.uk/student-advice-centre/immigration/eea-students-and-family-members

The Student Union and the University will continue to lobby to protect the rights of EU students and staff in the UK and ask that their status should be confirmed as soon as possible. We will also ask that the UK government removes the requirement for CSI. If you would be interested in getting involved in the Students’ Union campaign, please email me at ana.popa@sheffield.ac.uk and look out for further information on the SU website.

We want our European students to feel welcome. We want their rights to be preserved. We want a world with no borders. And we will keep fighting for it! Brexit Day is not the end of a campaign; it is the beginning of one. Yesterday, at the Varsity Ice Hockey game, the ice skater from our University had carried on the rink a special flag — a We Are International flag — testimony of our pride in our International environment and our continuous advocacy for a diverse University and Students’ Union. #WeAreInternational

Photo credits: University of Sheffield instagram

More information about CSI requirements can be found at https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/studentnews/923/EEA-students-and-comprehensive-sickness-insurance

Another useful website is https://www.freemovement.org.uk/comprehensive-sickness-insurance-what-is-it-and-who-needs-it/

More information about CSI will also be posted by us in a separate detailed blog.

The University also has the following advice page: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/eu-advice

Ana-Gabriela Popa

International Students’ Officer