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BREXIT EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement

On December 24, 2020 after extensive negotiations, the EU and the UK reached a final agreement concluding the Trade and Cooperation Agreement, avoiding a “no deal” or “hard” Brexit. The agreement entered into force provisionally on January 1, 2021, and provides the basis for future cooperation between the EU and the UK. In addition, the Withdrawal Agreement concluded between the EU and the UK on January 31, 2020 contains provisions on citizens' rights that will apply from January 1, 2021:

EU citizens who exercised their right of residence in the UK in accordance with Union law prior to the end of the transition period and who continue to live in the UK after that date, as well as British citizens with corresponding lawful residence in the EU, retain, for life, all rights that they have acquired under Union law.

As regards the EU Programme Erasmus+ and the EU Framework Programme for Research Horizon 2020, the following applies:

  • The United Kingdom no longer participates in the EU Erasmus+ programme as of January 1, 2021.
  • All Erasmus+ projects with UK partner institutions started before December 31, 2020 continue and the UK partner institutions remain fully eligible for the duration of the project.
  • The same applies to all mobilities already approved, even if the actual stay abroad takes place after December 31, 2020.
  • If a Horizon 2020 project continues beyond December 31, 2020, UK organisations remain eligible to participate and receive funding until its conclusion. UK participation in projects under the successor Horizon Europe programme (running from 2021 to 2027) is enabled by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (excluded are only forms of investment and funding of the European Innovation Council [EIC] operated by the specifically created ‚EIC Fund‘, while UK participation in all other elements of the EIC is possible), as is participation in the Euratom research programme and the ITER experimental nuclear fusion reactor (subject to a UK financial contribution to the EU budget).

The following section addresses the most relevant questions regarding education, science and research and the impact of Brexit on these areas.

Can I continue my studies in the UK?

Yes, it is still possible to study in the United Kingdom after the withdrawal date. However, the conditions for EU students, especially with regard to tuition fees, are at the independent discretion of the UK.

Will I lose my student grant from Austria when I study in the UK?

After December 31, 2020, a mobility grant continues to be available for full courses of studies in the UK.

I am a British citizen. Can I study at an Austrian university? Can I attend a school in Austria?

Yes. However, British students need to be aware of the following:

As regards the attendance of schools in Austria, Austrian education law does not base access to education on citizenship. Consequently, no changes will result from the Withdrawal Agreement in this field.

Will my degree awarded by a British university continue to be recognised in Austria? Will my professional qualification obtained in the UK be recognised in Austria?

Courses and academic degrees which are already recognised and were obtained from a British educational institution continue to be valid in Austria and the EU after the withdrawal date. Academic titles awarded by British universities can continue to be used in their original form. However, from January 1, 2021 (date of application), they are no longer entered in Austrian official documents.

Professional qualifications required to pursue a regulated profession (e.g. teaching staff)  remain valid, including the right to carry out the profession under the same conditions as EU citizens.

The requirements of the EU Directive regarding the recognition of professional qualifications will also apply to applications for the recognition of a regulated profession up to and including December 31, 2020 (date of application) and to the decision on these applications.

However, from January 1, 2021, professional qualifications obtained at a British educational institution are no longer recognised under EU law.
Graduates of British educational institutions can apply for access to a regulated profession according to Austrian professional regulations only after successfully validating their qualifications (“Nostrifizierung”).

Will my degree awarded by an Austrian university or my professional qualification obtained in Austria continue to be recognised in the UK?

Recognised courses and degrees obtained at an Austrian educational institution remain valid in the UK even after the date of withdrawal.

Professional qualifications required to pursue a regulated profession (e.g. teaching staff) remain valid, including the right to carry out the profession under the same conditions as nationals.

The requirements of the EU Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications also applies to applications for recognition of a regulated profession up to and including December 31, 2020 (date of application) and to the decision on these applications.

From January 1, 2021 the recognition of regulated professions (e.g. teaching staff) in the UK is based on British law. However, British government agencies promised on several occasions to avoid disadvantages for EU citizens in this field.

I am a British citizen studying at an Austrian university. Will I have to pay higher tuition fees than before?

A distinction must be made here between the following:

  • British citizens who exercised their right to reside in an EU Member State before the end of the transition period in accordance with Union law and subsequently continue to live there continue to enjoy the same status as EU citizens. This means that these students do not have to pay higher tuition fees.
  • British citizens who do not meet this residency requirement – according to the information currently available  –  are treated as third-country nationals from January 1, 2021. After the date of withdrawal, these students are subject to the provisions for third-country nationals (with costs amounting to 726.72 EUR per semester).

I am a British pupil and attend an Austrian school. Should I expect any changes?

Due to the principle of free tuition at Austrian state schools, there will be no changes for British pupils at Austrian state schools.

Will I lose my educational grant (education allowance/study grant) as a British citizen in Austria?

EU law remained in force until the end of the transition period, meaning that the existing regulations on equal treatment continued to apply to British students until the withdrawal date.

If the application for a study grant is made on or after January 1, 2021, British citizens are only entitled to student support and to school allowance and/or accommodation allowance if they enjoy equal treatment with Austrian citizens under Article 23 of the Withdrawal Agreement. This means they have either acquired a permanent right of residence in Austria according to Directive 2003/109/EC or are entitled to equal treatment as family members of a Union citizen exercising his/her right to free movement.

With regard to education allowance (“Schüler/innenbeihilfe”), from January 1, 2021 school pupils are entitled to receive school allowance and/or accommodation allowance in the absence of these requirements, if at least one parent was liable for income tax in Austria for a minimum of five years and had the centre of his/her personal relationships in Austria during this period.

Will the UK remain part of Erasmus+ and the EU Framework Programme for Research?

The United Kingdom will no longer participate in the EU Erasmus+ programme as of January 1, 2021.

If a Horizon 2020 project continues beyond December 31, 2020, UK organisations remain eligible to participate and receive funding until its conclusion. UK participation in projects under the successor Horizon Europe programme (running from 2021 to 2027) is enabled by the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (excluded are only forms of investment and funding of the European Innovation Council [EIC] operated by the specifically created ‚EIC Fund‘, while UK participation in all other elements of the EIC is possible), as is UK participation in the Euratom research programme and the ITER experimental nuclear fusion reactor (subject to a UK financial contribution to the EU budget).

What will happen to my Erasmus+ project with an institution in the UK, or to my Erasmus+ application for a stay in the UK?

All Erasmus+ projects with UK partner institutions which started before December 31, 2020 will continue to be carried out until their conclusion and the UK partner institutions will remain fully eligible for the duration of the project.

The same applies to all approved mobilities, even if the actual stay abroad takes place after December 31, 2020.

The Austrian National Agency for Erasmus+ Education at OeAD-GmbH supports and advises applicants and participating organisations:
OeAD-GmbH: Information on Brexit

Contact

buergerinnenservice@bmbwf.gv.at
Hotline: 0800 20 56 76