Government Issues Technical Notice On Higher Education Abroad

The Government has today issued a new Technical Notice which provides guidance to those studying or intending to study in the United Kingdom, in the European Union or in Gibraltar. 

A statement from the Government follows below:

The latest notice sets out the existing position in relation to higher education abroad and at the University of Gibraltar. 

It then points out the changes that will materialise if there is no agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union on the future relationship. In this eventuality, Gibraltarians will be able to continue to reside in the United Kingdom by virtue of their UK nationality. It points out that the Government already concluded an agreement with the UK Government in respect of tuition fees at English universities and is now proceeding to do the same with the Devolved Administrations. 

The Government urges the public to familiarise themselves with the situation that would arise in the event that there is no agreement. However, the Government continues to work towards an agreement for a future relationship between Gibraltar and the European Union. 

 

 

Studying in the UK, the EU and Gibraltar 

On 31 December 2020, the Transition Period (sometimes also referred to as the  “Implementation Period”) under the EU-UK Withdrawal Agreement will come to an  end. The end of the Transition Period will bring an end to the current status quo  whereby Gibraltar, its citizens and its business, have enjoyed EU rights. Therefore,  subject to the outcome of ongoing negotiations concerning the UK and Gibraltar’s  future relationship with the EU, the end of the Transition Period will bring about  important changes which Gibraltar, as a whole, will need to be ready for.  

Purpose. 

The purpose of this Notice is to explain what the effect of those changes are on  students currently enrolled in higher education programmes, or looking to enrol in  higher education programmes after 31 December 2020, in the UK, the EU or Gibraltar.  

Existing Position.  

Gibraltarian students studying in the UK have a right to reside in the UK by virtue of  their UK nationality. Other EU citizens have a right to reside in the UK pursuant to EU  rules on the free movement of persons.  

EU citizens studying in Gibraltar have a right to reside in Gibraltar in accordance with  the same EU rules. EU law also prevents discrimination on the basis of nationality.  Therefore, Gibraltarians and other EU citizens studying in the UK have the same rights  as UK home students. As such, Gibraltarian students and EU students pay the same 

fees as UK home students. The same applies to UK students or students of other EU  nationalities studying in Gibraltar. 

Specific advice for students currently studying in the UK or the EU or for  students who are about to enrol on higher education programmes in either the  UK or the EU starting in the 20/21 academic year.  

UK nationals studying in the UK. 

After 31 December 2020, UK nationals (including Gibraltarians) studying in the UK will  continue to have a right to reside in the UK by virtue of their UK nationality. Tuition  fees paid with respect to the 20/21 academic year will not change.  

EU citizens, recipients of HMGoG Scholarships, studying in the UK.  

After 31 December 2020, EU citizens studying in the UK will become third-country  nationals vis-à-vis the UK. However, those currently in the UK, or those going to the  UK before 31 December 2020, will be covered by the personal scope of the EU-UK  Withdrawal Agreement. EU citizens who are recipients of HMGoG Scholarships and  are currently studying in the UK will therefore have to apply to the UK’s EU Settlement  Scheme to be able to continue to live in the UK. Further information on this can be  sought from the UK Government’s guidance which can be accessed here: “Studying  in the UK: guidance for EU students”.  

UK nationals, recipients of HMGoG Scholarships, studying in the EU.  

The limited number of UK nationals (including Gibraltarians) currently studying in the  EU who are recipients of HMGoG Scholarships, or those going to study in an EU  Member State ahead of 31 December 2020 who are recipients of HMGoG  Scholarship, will also be covered by the personal scope of the EU-UK Withdrawal  Agreement. 

In order to be able to live, or continue to live in the EU Member State concerned after  31 December 2020, students may need to take proactive steps now to establish their  residence status. Individual EU Member States have adopted different procedures  with respect to the above and students are encouraged to check the position in their  EU Member State of residence as soon as possible. If students require assistance this  can be sought from the UK Embassy in the relevant EU Member State. With respect  to tuition fees, and since these may change as from the 21/22 academic year for  students studying in EU universities, potentially affected students have been asked by  HMGoG to provide written confirmation of their fee schedule for their entire programme  as a pre-condition to funding being made available.  

Specific advice for students currently studying at the University of Gibraltar or  for students who are about to enrol on higher education programmes with the  University of Gibraltar starting in the 20/21 academic year.  

HMGoG will legislate for all foreign students, irrespective of nationality, currently  studying at the University of Gibraltar to be able to continue to reside in Gibraltar. With  respect to courses started prior to 31 December 2020, the University of Gibraltar will  honour the tuition fees quoted at the commencement of the course notwithstanding  that courses may end in academic years extending beyond 20/21.  

Specific advice for students planning to enrol on higher education programmes  in either the UK or the EU after 31 December 2020 in case there is no agreement  with respect to UK and Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU by 31  December 2020. 

UK nationals intending to study in the UK. 

After 31 December 2020, UK nationals (including Gibraltarians) studying in the UK will  continue to have a right to reside in the UK by virtue of their UK nationality. With  respect to tuition fees, it should be recalled that, following the HMGoG-UK Joint  Ministerial Council of 8 March 2018, the UK Government announced that all British 

Citizens resident in Gibraltar would continue to be eligible for higher education home  fee status at English Institutions after 31 December 2020.  

HMGoG is pursing similar tuition fee arrangements with the Governments of Scotland,  Wales and Northern Ireland for those looking to study in Scottish, Welsh or Northern  Irish institutions.  

These arrangements will not cover EU citizens resident in Gibraltar. 

UK nationals, who intend to apply for HMGoG Scholarships, for the purposes of an  intention to study in the EU in future.  

In case there is no future agreement between the UK and the EU covering the mobility  of students post-31 December 2020, UK nationals (including Gibraltarians) intending  to study in an EU Member State in a programme commencing after 31 December 2020  will need to check immigration and residency requirements prior to their arrival in the  EU Member State where they intend to study.  

With respect to funding for students intending to study in an EU Member State in  future, HMGoG has taken a policy decision to cap scholarship grants at the rate of the  equivalent entitlement for students proposing to study in the UK. Exemptions will be  made for Medical Degrees and other programmes on a case by case basis depending  on the circumstances.  

Foreign students intending to study at the University of Gibraltar in future.  

Even in a case where there is no future agreement between the UK and the EU  covering the mobility of students post-31 December 2020, HMGoG will legislate for all  foreign students, irrespective of nationality, to be able to reside in Gibraltar. With  respect to tuition fees, the University will, at least in the short to medium term and  depending on commercial considerations going forwards, apply the same tuition fees  to EU nationals as compared to UK nationals. 

Implications and Mitigation. 

Students (and prospective students) are advised to consider the information in this  Technical Notice in detail so that they can plan ahead and make necessary  arrangements for every eventuality concerning their studies.  

Specific advice for students planning to enrol on higher education programmes  in either the UK or the EU after 31 December 2020 if there is an agreement with  respect to Gibraltar’s future relationship with the EU by 31 December 2020. 

UK nationals intending to study in the UK in future. 

With respect to UK nationals (including Gibraltarians) intending to study in the UK after  31 December 2020, the guidance outlined above with respect to the position that  would apply in case there is no UK-EU Agreement would apply in case there is a UK EU Agreement. Nothing contained in any future UK-EU Agreement would have an  effect on arrangements made between the UK and Gibraltar on matters that are  relevant to this Technical Notice.  

Students intending to study in the UK, the EU or Gibraltar in future.  

It is possible that a future UK-EU Agreement may contain provisions facilitating the  mobility of students. The public is aware that negotiations with respect to the above  are ongoing. HMGoG will publish further guidance with respect to the implications of  any future UK-EU Agreement on higher education if and when an agreement is  reached.  

Since HMGoG intends to continue to attract EU students to Gibraltar, it is possible  that, even in case of an EU-UK Agreement, domestic Gibraltar legislation may  unilaterally improve on the content of those potential arrangements.