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Thousands of British international students have left Limbo as Brexit plans a trip | Brexit

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Thousands of British students wishing to spend a year abroad have been caught up in Limbo after a major disruption in travel plans due to post-Brexit bureaucracy and costs. Universities say they received inappropriate guidance from the government.

Overseas academic coordinators who spoke with the Guardian said prior to Brexit that there was limited information from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the burdensome requirements that the change of status would bring in EU countries.

Current advice varies by consulate and often conflicts with information from local embassies, so many students have to cancel or postpone their placement, the academics said.

I don’t think anyone knows the degree of entanglement between the UK and the EU. Claire Gorrara, Dean of Research and Innovation at Cardiff University and Chair of the Council of Modern Universities, is the same for fishing, transportation and logistics, as in other fields. language.

As of January 1, 2021, students arriving in EU countries will be required to submit a large amount of documents to obtain a residence visa and requirements vary from country to country. Additionally, students must demonstrate that they can stay in some countries, including proof that they have a monthly income of at least 6,000 (5,194) in bank accounts in Austria, Italy and Portugal, or 700-800 in Germany, Denmark and Sweden. .

Nigel Harkness, Vice-Chancellor of Newcastle University and a French professor, said academia and students could not prepare for these changes before January 1. Most EU countries have created additional bureaucracy and were disappointed because they were not in a position to check what their agreements were as they did not check on our side. We have all developed policies and processes for hoofs.

Despite the new rules that came into force almost two months ago, academics have said that many students are still stuck in the UK waiting for additional instructions or trying to decipher conflicting information. Some students who stayed in EU countries on Christmas to avoid Brexit complications were told they had to return to the UK to apply for a visa.

UK government directives are full of useless and often require text and links to other EU government sites that contradict those directives. It’s very confusing, stressful, and expensive for students who were able to move freely until recently, said Julia Waters, a French professor and foreign coordinator at the University of Reading.

Overseas years are an integral part of the Modern Languages ​​degree for about 7,000 students in the UK and are considered essential for improving linguistic fluency and cultural awareness. While many students planned to leave school in early 2021, students studying more than one language generally have one year in another country.

Brexit discontinuation is after months of uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. Students complained of the inconsistent approach across college, some blocked students from traveling throughout the year, others canceled their first semester, and in some cases last minute. This has become more complicated as some EU countries introduce travel bans for non-EU residents and now applies to UK citizens.

After Spain closed the UK border due to coronavirus, students at the University of Reading, Caitlin Hodgson and Yasmin Payne, hired a Spanish lawyer to help with paperwork. We tried to start our own residence application, which turned out to be useless as the first requires an agent and the second requires most of the steps to be done directly in Spain. We were spinning around because we couldn’t go to Spain without a resident, Hodgson said.

Esme Cawley, a third-year French and Hispanic student at the University of Sheffield, said he spent hundreds of pounds on medical plans that were not required for other students traveling to Spain. Sailing a year abroad after Brexit was an administrative and financial nightmare. Different consulates have different requirements.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that visa and entry requirements for British citizens, including students, were set by individual EU member states and are working with universities to resolve the issue.

Rob Pearce: I know someone who had to pay a huge amount of visa fees to get to Belgium. Photo: Supplied None of this is worth it. There is too much uncertainty.

I spent a year abroad until January and had to transfer trips to Belgium. A few weeks after making the change, I got an email from the university asking about my visa application, looking at how expensive it would be after Brexit and I thought. I know someone who had to pay a very high visa fee to get to Belgium. There is too much uncertainty. We had a pre-departure meeting before we went, and the university said that we were given a description of a potentially possible situation but we were not given any guidance to advise. I thought I would take a leave of absence, but in September I’m from a low-income group, so it’s going to be a big problem to consider the cost of my visa. You should also be able to prove that you can afford to be there, and I will never have 5,000 people sitting on my account. Rob Pierce is studying Dutch, French and Spanish at Sheffield University.

Antonia Kessell: Attempts to illegally explain that I am to prospective employers because I don’t have a visa was tricky. Photo:-For many, going abroad for a year is currently impossible.

I had to come out before the January 1st Brexit deadline to get my visa, because the visa is really expensive and the process is long. And I wanted to go quickly rather than late. I came out to Toulouse without a job because I was in a lucky position to take risks. It’s tricky trying to explain it’s illegal to prospective employers because I don’t have a visa, but I have a job now. Missing the New Year with my family was really stressful and embarrassing, but I think it’s worth it and I know I’m lucky to be here. For many people to go abroad for a year, it is not possible at this time to get a visa and go through all the bureaucracy. Antonia Kessel, studying French and Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh.

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