Prime Minister, Theresa May, today revealed her government’s long-awaited plan for Britian leaving the EU, hinting at favourable conditions for EU nationals currently living in the UK as well as EU students wishing to study here in the future.
In the speech in Lancaster House, May highlighted in 12 points Britain’s objectives in the negotiations that will begin in earnest once Article 50 is triggered later this year.
EU nationals currently studying or working in the UK face considerable uncertainty about their future in post-Brexit Britain. In Point 6, May stressed the need “to guarantee the rights of EU citizens who are already living in Britain…as early as we can”. She described finding a settlement with the EU regarding EU nationals residing in the UK as a priority, as well as being “the right and fair thing to do.”
She attempted to allay fears of Brexit’s effect on higher education by emphasising her commitment to supporting universities. In Point 10, she described the UK’s academic communities and its universities as one of the country’s “great strengths” and welcomed any potential agreement “to continue to collaborate with our European partners” with regards to academia and science.
With regards to immigration, which had such a prominent role in the referendum, May said that there must be “control of the number of people that come to Britain from Europe”.
Despite this she asserted that the UK will “continue to attract the brightest and the best to work or study” and that “openness to international talent must remain one of this country’s most distinctive assets.”
May ultimately described these points as “the framework of the deal” between Britain and the EU and whether they become the political future depends on the negotiations. She repeatedly stressed the desire to continue attracting the “brightest and the best” from the EU and asserted their positive contribution to the UK.