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BREXIT

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, thereby ceasing to be a Member State of the EU from 1 February 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement ratified by the European Union and the United Kingdom ensures that the UK leaves the EU in an orderly manner (“Brexit deal”).

The Withdrawal Agreement calls for a transition period lasting until 31 December 2020, in which EU law will remain in force for and within the UK. During this transition period, no changes will occur in the fields of education and research.

For the time after the end of the transition period (from 1 January 2021), the Withdrawal Agreement has set the following rule as regards the rights of citizens:

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.

The legal situation for EU citizens and British citizens who do not meet this residence requirement and who can therefore not rely on acquired rights will be a subject of the negotiations between the EU and the UK on future relations.

As regards the EU programme Erasmus+ and the EU Framework Programme for Research Horizon 2020, the following information can be provided:

During the transition period (until 31 December 2020), the UK will remain part of Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 even as a non-Member State of the EU. 

After the end of the transition period (from 1 January 2021), the UK could participate in the new Erasmus+ programme and the new Framework Programme for Research Horizon Europe as a non-Member State of the EU (just as Norway or Turkey currently do, for example) based on a special agreement (yet to be concluded in each case). 

The next section contains answers to fundamental questions in the fields of education, science and research in connection with Brexit.

Can I continue my studies in the UK?

Yes, it will still be possible to study in the United Kingdom after the withdrawal date.

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

During the transition period, students will continue to be able to receive a mobility grant for a (complete) course of studies in the UK. For the period after 31 December 2020, Austria intends to continue to offer mobility grants for a (complete) course 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. The following should be noted in relation to British students: British citizens who have exercised their right to reside in an EU Member State in accordance with Union law prior to the end of the transition period and subsequently continue to live there must continue to be treated in the same way as EU citizens.

  • British citizens who do not meet this residence requirement must – according to the information currently available – be treated as third-country nationals from 1 January 2021. This would have the following effects: after the date of withdrawal, British applicants have to possess not only the general university entrance qualification, but also the study-specific admission requirements. In addition, it must be proven that the applicant is entitled to immediate admission to study in the state issuing the document certifying the general university entrance qualification. It is not necessary to provide proof of a university place. If the course of study aspired to in Austria is not established in the state issuing the document, the study-specific admission requirements have to be fulfilled with regard to a course of study established in the state issuing the document which is most closely related to the course of studies aspired to in Austria in terms of course content.

Education law does not take account of citizenship with regard to access to education. As a consequence, the Withdrawal Agreement will not result in any changes 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 at a British educational establishment will continue to be valid in Austria and the EU after the withdrawal date.
The existing recognition of professional qualifications required to pursue a regulated profession (e.g. teaching staff) or recognition, before the end of the transition period (31 December 2020), in the context of the exercise of the freedom of establishment will maintain its effects, including the right to pursue the profession under the same conditions as nationals.

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

However, after the end of the transition period, qualifications obtained at a British educational establishment can no longer be recognised as previously under EU law.
From this date, certificates from a British educational establishment granting access to a profession have to be validated as equivalent. Only after their certificates have been successfully validated can graduates of British educational establishments apply for access to a regulated profession according to the Austrian professional regulations.

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

The EU Directive on the recognition of professional qualifications will be applicable in the United Kingdom during the transition period. This applies to regulated professions, e.g. teaching staff.

Recognition, before the end of the transition period, of professional qualifications acquired for a regulated profession in the context of the exercise of the freedom of establishment will maintain its effects, including the right to pursue the profession under the same conditions as nationals.

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

As a consequence, the recognition of regulated professions (e.g. teaching staff) in the UK will be based on British law in the future. However, the British government agencies have promised on several occasions that there should be no 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:

  • 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 must continue to be treated in the same way as EU citizens. This means that these students do not have to pay higher tuition fees.
  • British citizens who do not meet this residence requirement must – according to the information currently available – be treated as third-country nationals from 1 January 2021. After the date of withdrawal, these students will be subject to the provisions for third-country nationals (€726.72 per semester).

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

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

EU law will remain in force until the end of the transition period, meaning that the existing regulations on equal treatment will continue to apply to British students during this period.

If the application for a study grant is made on or after 1 January 2021, British citizens will in future only be 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, 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, from 1 January 2021 school pupils will be 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 or her personal relationships in Austria during this period.

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

Even as a non-Member State of the EU, the UK will remain part of Erasmus+ and Horizon 2020 during the transition period (until 31 December 2020).

After the end of the transition period (from 1 January 2021), the UK could participate in the new Erasmus+ programme and the new Framework Programme for Research Horizon Europe as a non-Member State of the EU (just as Norway or Turkey currently do, for example) based on a special agreement (yet to be concluded in each case).

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

All Erasmus+ projects with partner institutions in the UK starting before 31 December 2020 will continue, and the UK partner institutions will be fully eligible to receive funding for the entire duration of the project.

As part of Erasmus+ mobility projects, people can be sent to the UK and people from the UK can be received in Austria. This applies to all mobility projects approved under the current Erasmus+ programme (2014-2020), even if the actual period abroad does not start until after 31 December 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 21 65 95