Oxford University: Staff planning to leave because of Brexit

Oxford University appeals to MPs to guarantee EU citizens in Britain the right to remain when the UK triggers article 50 later this month. One fifth of the University's academics are from other EU nations.

Oxford University: Staff planning to leave because of Brexit
The heads of 35 colleges at Oxford University have signed an open letter warning MPs that the institution would “suffer enormous damage” unless parliament guarantees the right of European Union staff to reside in the UK after Brexit.The letter to The Times – published on Monday, just hours ahead of a vote in the House of Commons on the issue – says that some EU academics at the 900-year-old university are already planning to return home. About a fifth of academics at the university originate from other EU nations.

Guarantee the 'right to remain'

Signed by Vice-Chancellor Louise Richardson, the letter appeals to MPs to support a House of Lords amendment to the bill empowering the government to trigger the Brexit process, which would guarantee EU citizens in Britain the right to remain.While the UK government has said repeatedly it wants to achieve such a right, it is unwilling to do so until it can negotiate a similar deal with the EU for the 1.2 million UK expats living on the continent.But the Oxford letter – signed by all college heads with the exception of Christ Church, Corpus Christi, Lincoln, Mansfield and St Peter’s – maintains the government's position on the issue is “insufficient”.

'Making plans to leave'

“Our EU colleagues are not reassured by a government that tells them that deportation is not going to happen but declines to convert that assurance into law,” the letter argues, adding that some EU citizen academics are “already making plans to leave”.It continues, “Oxford University relies on EU citizens as lecturers, researchers and support staff. If they lost their right to work here, our university would suffer enormous damage which, given our role in research, would have reverberations across the UK.“Many of our staff don't know whether absences abroad on research contracts will count against them. Others do not know, however longstanding their work and residence, whether their children will be able to remain in the UK.”
Related news:
Earlier this month, Alastair Buchan, Oxford’s head of Brexit strategy, told the university's Cherwell newspaper, “Academics are most worried about their staff; they’re worried about students being able to come; they’re worried about their staff being secure and confident and having what they need in terms of what we all take for granted in this country, which is free education, free healthcare, free social care.”According to a recent survey by the University and College Union, three quarters of EU academics working in Britain said they were “more likely to consider leaving” the country as a result of the referendum vote to leave the EU.The Oxford college leaders said they were raising “real and immediate concerns”, adding, “There is no public or parliamentary intent to harm our EU colleagues: that can be translated into reassurance by accepting the Lords amendment. We ask MPs to vote accordingly and join us in pressing for reciprocal arrangements for UK nationals in the EU.”Ministers, however, remain determined to get the Brexit bill through parliament without any amendments.For related news and features, visit our Brexit section.Access hundreds of global services and suppliers in our Online Directory  Get access to our free Global Mobility Toolkit

Related Articles