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Brexit – what does it mean for prospective students?

We understand that the UK’s decision to leave the EU raises some questions about EU nationals’ ability to study and work in the UK in the future. As Brexit negotiations continue, there is still some uncertainty about some details of this. Here, we are sharing the details that we do know, and also what our expectations are in the event of a number of scenarios.

Please note that reference to EU nationals here includes nationals of the 27 EU member states other than the UK, nationals of the member countries of the EEA and nationals of Switzerland.


If you are a non-EU national, there have been no changes to student visa requirements

This information is subject to change, and provides a high level view of the situation. Should you require specific advice about your own situation, we advise you consider taking separate legal advice.

  • If you are joining LBS prior to 29 March 2019 – including SLN2019 students

    There are no changes to EU nationals’ rights in coming to or staying in the UK. EU nationals who are exercising their right of free movement can continue to do so. Family member of EU nationals – including non-EU nationals – also benefit from the right of free movement, as long as the EU national is exercising their right.

    This means EU nationals and their family members can travel to the UK, study, work, look for a job, be self-employed or otherwise self-sufficient.
    For students, we advise you obtain Comprehensive Sickness Insurance in order to ensure you have adequate health coverage.

    You can stay here for as long as you wish. Once you’ve been here five years or more, you will be eligible to stay indefinitely by obtaining Settled Status.

    No documentation is currently needed to prove your right to come here and stay here. However, we advise non-EU family members to apply for the appropriate documentation as this will make it easier for crossing the border, finding employment and so on. Currently, the right documentation is an EEA Family Permit if applying from outside the UK, and a Residence Card if applying from within the UK.

  • If you are joining LBS full time in 2019 or 2020, including the August / September intakes of MBA2021, MIFFT2019, MIM2020, MFA2020 & MAM2020
    The UK government is working towards securing a deal acceptable to both the UK and the EU. As part of this, the EU Withdrawal Agreement has been agreed in large parts to ensure there is a smooth transition when the UK leaves the EU in March 2019.


    The Withdrawal Agreement guarantees that after 29 March 2019 until 31 December 2020:

    • EU nationals and their family members will continue to be able to come to the UK in the same way they can now – no visa or additional documentation will be required.
    • EU nationals and their family members resident in the UK before 31 December2020 can stay here with no further immigration requirements.
    • If they have been here five years, they can stay indefinitely. They will be required to apply for “settled status”.
    • If they have been here less than five years, they can obtain “pre-settled status” until they become eligible for “settled status”.
    • “Settled status” will only lapse after five years’ absence from the UK.
    • No additional requirements (e.g. Comprehensive Sickness Insurance) for students.
  • After March 2019 – If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 with “no deal”

    The UK government believes an acceptable deal will be found to ensure a smooth exit from the EU. Current discussions, however, include the possibility that no deal is secured. Should this happen, on 30 March 2019, the UK would become a “3rd country” to the EU, and subject to the same rules currently applied to non-EU countries.

    In the event of “no deal”, the Withdrawal Agreement which secures EU national rights until 31 December 2020 will not be valid. We are awaiting advice from the UK government on what this will mean for EU nationals already in the UK, and EU nationals planning to come to the UK. We believe it is unlikely that any form of visa will be required from 30 March 2019, and that a temporary solution to facilitate short to medium term movement of EU nationals to the UK will be put in place. Should any form of visa system or checks be required, LBS would work to ensure we continue to be able to support our current EU students, and recruit future EU students. Even in the event of a “no deal” scenario, we do not foresee a situation whereby our ability to recruit EU students would be affected.

    We continue to monitor the UK government negotiations with the EU, and will provide updated information as and when it is available.

  • If you are joining LBS from 2021 onwards

    The UK government has advised that following the transition period facilitated by the EU Withdrawal Agreement, EU nationals will be subject to the same immigration requirements as non-EU nationals. This is applicable to EU nationals arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021 onwards only.

    The government has additionally advised that an Immigration Bill will be introduced in 2019 with the full detail of what the post 2021 immigration requirements will entail. While we do not have the detail of this yet, the government has committed to the following:


    • Highly skilled immigration will be prioritised – we understand this to mean that high calibre, educated individuals – such as LBS students and graduates - will be treated favourably by the new system.
    • There will continue to be no cap on the number of international students – EU or non-EU – that we can recruit at LBS.
    • The visa system will be streamlined and simplified to support an increased number of applications.
    • The current Tier 2 work visa will be reviewed to ensure it is fit for purpose.
    • A new “start-up” visa aimed at early stage entrepreneurs is due to be implemented from March 2019 – details will be shared when available.

    We will continue to monitor developments with the Immigration Bill, and will provide updated information as and when it is available.

This information is correct at 18 October 2018.