Brexit: international study opportunities at risk

Brexit study
One student said there was "a lot of miscommunication" involved in the visa application process. Source: Marco Verch (via. Flickr)
In the wake of Brexit, international study oppportunities are at risk for British students, with increasing visa difficulties for UK students

By Katherine Seymour | Contributor

The rules of the deal agreed following the UK’s exit of the EU have been causing problems for British students wishing to study abroad. Some students have changed continents or delayed their plans due to the long waiting times for EU visas.

The UK Government has asked Spain, the country with the most reported issues, to create a fast-track process for British students, should the worst happen. However Spain has pushed back on this, stating that British students must go through the same process as other non-EU students.

The Spanish government has also said that students have been applying for visas much later than the recommended time of 6 months before departure as some were not clear on the rules following the UK leaving the EU.

Many students have become frustrated with the allocation of visas, deeming them to be completely random. Some have missed out on visas while their friends with similar placements have been granted them. 

The impact of this, particularly on Modern Foreign Language (MFL) students will be huge. Most MFL students are required to study abroad as part of their degree and cannot delay their plans. 

Speaking to the Guardian, Natasha Kerr a modern languages student at Bristol University has expressed her frustration regarding the lack of information on the rule changes: “There was a lot [to] figure out. Bristol said: ‘We can’t give you advice, we don’t know’”.

“There was a lot of miscommunication and the university reached out to the consulate but they didn’t get any response and there wasn’t a lot they could do.”

Kerr said the cost of her visa application was about £700 in total, which included legalising and translating two documents and obtaining an Acro (criminal records) police certificate. “It was a lot more than I was expecting,” she said. The fee on the Spanish government website is £54.40.

Following the UK’s departure from the EU, many problems were expected in getting to grips with new visa systems. However, the impact of these changes coupled with the uncertainty of the pandemic has made it particularly difficult for British students to carry out their plans.


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