UK's top universities send list of demands to Theresa May
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The UK's top Russell Group universities have today published a list of ten demands that they say Theresa May must follow in order to protect the rights of EU citizens and prevent damage to the higher education system. The Russell Group is an association of the UK's top 24 research-intensive universities, including major names such as Oxford, Cambridge, Durham and Manchester. They say a "significant degree of uncertainty remains concerning EU nationals’ rights and the process for acquiring them after the UK leaves the EU" and "this lack of clarity is causing considerable concern for EU nationals at our universities and impacting on our ability to recruit talented staff from the EU. "The contribution of EU nationals to the world-class research and teaching at our institutions is crucial. More broadly EU staff and students add to the diversity of our campuses and enrich the learning experience for all. We need to do everything we can to ensure these individuals feel valued and supported to stay in the UK." The list of demands is as follows: 1. Academics and students often spend periods of time abroad for study, training, career development and research collaborations. Government should continue to support such endeavours by: - Ensuring continuous residence is not impacted by periods spent abroad for study or research by applying the necessary exemptions to any rules (e.g. the 180 day rule). - Adopting a broad interpretation of ‘strong ties’ to ensure students and academics that spend two years or more abroad do not lose their settled status once gained. 2. Government should develop an effective and efficient system for processing applications that places a minimum burden on applicants. If the Government does not have the systems it needs in place in time, the grace period must be extended accordingly. 3. We welcome that Government intends to use existing data it holds to minimise the evidence that applicants will need to submit. Where it is possible to identify those eligible for temporary leave or settled status from such data, the Home Office should automatically contact EU citizens to offer this status. 4. Those with Permanent Residence should be transferred automatically to settled status. There is no need to re-assess these individuals’ right to be in the UK.
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