The number one category of anti-Brexiteer was (is) really a social heterarchy of special interest groups (SIG) who felt (but did not actually know) that their SIG was threatened in some, usually undefined, way. The second major category included those who felt that Brexit was a vote against unfettered internationalism which they believe in.
Thus about 40,000 academics voted against Brexit, something like 95:5 on the basis of “feel” about their grants for travel and research, both for themselves and supposedly for students coming from the EU to study or research in British universities.
Yet the great majority of researchers from overseas are from the English-speaking world ABCANZ mainly, but also quite a few from the former British Empire in Asia – India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaya – where English is the natural language of business and post graduate education. All of these are unaffected by Brexit, except possibly to make entry to Britain easier.
As this writer knows from professional experience, all people coming from these countries to a job in British universities go through the same process of getting (and renewing in some cases) a job permit for a stay of longer than 12 months. I have yet to hear why the much smaller numbers from the EU countries should be exempt from this requirement, or why British universities, unlike other large employers, would find it so difficult to arrange.
For EU undergraduate students the matter is somewhat different for one and one reason only. This is the fact that EU students not only pay the UK Home Fee rate (of £6,000-£9,000 per annum) rather than the overseas rate of anything from £15,000-£20,000 per annum for science and medical degrees, but also benefit from the student loan scheme of up to £40,000. That most of these loans to East European students in particular are not being paid back is indicated by the fact that the UK Treasury has been trying for some time now to sell off its student loan book at a 50% discount of its nominal value, i.e. they aim only to get back half of what has been paid out, in a scheme which has been running for only 4 years. …[more»]