Advice about the EU referendum result

Following the EU referendum, we now know that the UK has voted to leave the European Union. Many of you will have strong feelings about this decision and deep concerns about what it will mean for the future of our continent, our country and our University.

Our University is a community of international scholarship which includes many citizens of other EU countries. We know our students and staff will have many questions about what this will mean for them personally, as will all those who are directly involved in work dependent on EU collaboration and funding.

On this page, we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the impact the EU referendum result will have on our University, staff and students. This information will be extended in the coming weeks and months as we know more.

You can also email us your questions at: eu@sheffield.ac.uk.

General FAQs

The UK has voted to leave the EU - what will happen now?

There will not be any immediate change to:

  • the immigration status of current and prospective non-UK EU students and staff
  • the fees charged to non-UK EU students, or their access to UK Government funded loans
  • the UK university sector’s participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+

We should remember that leaving the EU will not happen overnight. Any member state deciding to leave the EU must formally invoke Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, this triggers a minimum two year negotiation process between the UK and the European Union (transition period), during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.

What was the University's official statement on the EU referendum vote?

The University of Sheffield is carefully considering the implications of the result of the EU referendum to the University and to our staff and students. Our University is a Top 100 University globally and home to staff and students from around the world, including many from other EU nations. Scholars from these countries are central to the teaching of students and research in everything from medicine and science to engineering, social sciences and the arts and humanities.

Naturally, a vote to leave the EU raises many important questions that require urgent answers - for universities, staff, students, prospective students, our research partners and other stakeholders. We will be working closely with other universities across the UK to seek answers to these questions as quickly and completely as possible.

However, we should remember that leaving the EU will not happen overnight. The Treaty on European Union foresees a two year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided. For this reason there will not be any immediate material change to the immigration status of current and prospective EU students and staff or to the UK university sector’s participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+.

Our primary concern at this time is for those staff and students who may be affected by the outcome of the referendum, and we will continue to offer advice and support to them over the coming weeks and months.

What was the Students' Union official statement on the EU referendum vote?

Christy McMorrow, President of Sheffield Students’ Union, said:

All of the incoming and outgoing Officer teams are bitterly disappointed to have woken up to the news that the UK has voted to leave the European Union, and we know a huge number of our students will be too. We know that many of our students, particularly from the EU will be worried. We won’t know the full impacts of this outcome for a while, but if you are concerned and need support you can email our Student Advice Centre at advice@sheffield.ac.uk.

We are immensely proud of the campaign the SU has run, from the SU referendum to massive voter registration drives to our push for a Remain vote, we are proud to have stood up for the UK being open and inclusive, and for the best future possible for our students.

We also must make sure that we do not give up on fighting for the things that are important to our members, and we will ensure that although the UK may not be in the EU, we will fight hard to ensure our EU students and staff are protected, that funding for our postgraduates remains steady and that none of the rights EU membership ensures are taken from us.

We will never stop working for a world that is more open and inclusive, that allows our members from other countries to feel safe here, and allows our Universities to thrive. Today may be a difficult day, but the most important thing I can say is this: To our EU students and staff, our University life is so much more enriched, positive and open for having you as our friends and colleagues. We will never stop working to make sure that this University is a place where borders don't define our friendships. So we will stand together and continue to do best by our members, come what may.

What is the official statement from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills?

Please see the statement from Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, on higher education and research following the EU referendum.

Will non-UK EU staff and student nationals need visas to study or work in the UK?

No, during the transition period the UK remains a member of the EU and remains bound by EU legislation. We understand that the UK, including UK universities, will continue to be able to access EU programmes on the current basis. Non-UK EU staff and students retain the right to remain under the current arrangements.

Arrangements after transition will be subject to negotiation between the UK Government and the European Union.

The University of Sheffield will play its part in ensuring that any new future arrangements continue to support student and staff mobility, promote borderless research collaboration and enable our being fully part of an internationally-engaged higher education system.

How does the University see the future for international students and staff from other EU countries?

The University of Sheffield is a community of international scholarship open to students from across the world and deeply proud of what our international students achieve when they are with us and go on to do in the world after they graduate.

Our University is a Top 100 University globally and home to staff and students from around the world, including many from other EU nations. Scholars from these countries are central to the teaching of students and research in everything from medicine and science to engineering, social sciences and the arts and humanities.

Our University and Students’ Union lead a national campaign to welcome and celebrate international students and this work continues. We are now supported in this by 100 other universities, but the push began in Sheffield with students and a university who treasure our international family. The message is clear – international students and scholarship are welcome here.

What is the University's position on the research it undertakes with other EU countries?

Our research is global, made possible by postgraduates and early career researchers from across the world. Our Grantham Institute, for example, works with scientists, engineers and social scientists to address global challenges of environmental sustainability. Our work on energy, future cities, medical technologies and food security knows no geographical boundaries. Our industrial and research partnerships are a list of the world’s great companies, and this provides a powerful opportunity for our students from all countries to learn from our links to global organisations such as Siemens, Boeing, Rolls-Royce and Santander.

Student FAQs

What is the city of Sheffield's view of international students?

Sheffield as a city has offered a warm welcome to international students and it will continue to do so. Our students from around the world celebrate their own cultures and friendships in many ways, participate in volunteering activities and enjoy festivals and sports in the city centre and our beautiful Peak District. In return the city is deeply grateful for the investment and vibrancy our international students bring. They see our students training to be architects, lawyers and engineers. They see the contribution you make to our hospitals as doctors, and they know that you go on to serve the world in wonderful and important ways after graduation – taking something of Sheffield with you into the wider world.

A statement highlighting the city’s commitment to international students and celebrating the positive cultural and economic impact they have on Sheffield’s vibrancy was issued at the national conference of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKISA) in Sheffield (29 June - 1 July 2016).

Sheffield voted to leave the EU - does that mean I will not be welcome in Sheffield?

Absolutely not. The University is an international university, what we gain from a diverse student and staff population is immeasurable. We will continue to offer a place of welcome to scholars and students from across the continent and our world.

Sheffield has a strong reputation as a diverse, vibrant and friendly city. This will not change as a result of the EU referendum vote.

A statement highlighting the city’s commitment to international students and celebrating the positive cultural and economic impact they have on Sheffield’s vibrancy was issued at the national conference of the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKISA) in Sheffield (29 June - 1 July 2016).

As an undergraduate or postgraduate student what does this mean for my fees and my access to student loans?

The government has stated that eligible current students and applicants for entry in 2016 will continue to receive student finance for the duration of their course. The Master’s Loans launched on 28 June 2016 are also still available to eligible EU students. Please see the statement on the Student Loans Company website for more information.

It is the University's assumption that EU students admitted in 2017-18 will pay the same fees throughout their course as UK students. The UK government has confirmed that UG and PGT EU students starting in September 2017 will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants - and will be for the duration of their course - even if the UK exits the European Union during that period. Further advice will be published subject to any clarification from the UK government.

Eligible UG and PGT EU students can apply for a loan from the UK government. If you want to find out more about fees please see our Tuition Fees information.

I'm planning to apply/or have already applied as an undergraduate/postgraduate to the University - what does this mean for my fees and my access to student loans?

The government has stated that eligible current students and applicants for entry in 2016 will continue to receive student finance for the duration of their course. The Master’s Loans launched on 28 June 2016 are also still available to eligible EU students. Please see the statement on the Student Loans Company website for more information.

It is the University's assumption that EU students admitted in 2017-18 will pay the same fees throughout their course as UK students. The UK government has confirmed that UG and PGT EU students starting in September 2017 will continue to be eligible for student loans and grants - and will be for the duration of their course - even if the UK exits the European Union during that period. Further advice will be published subject to any clarification from the UK government.

Eligible UG and PGT EU students can apply for a loan from the UK government. If you want to find out more about fees please see our Tuition Fees information.

Will arrangements for Erasmus+ continue?

Yes, during the transition period the UK remains a member of the EU, and we understand that the UK, including UK universities, will continue to be able to access EU programmes on the current basis.

The Erasmus+ programme has advised that people should continue with Erasmus+ funded activities and preparation for the next round of applications.

If you are coming to the University in 2015/16 or 2016/17 we want to reassure you that this decision does not impact on your Erasmus+ mobility period and that we will fulfil our obligations as initially agreed between your home university and The University of Sheffield regarding your study period with us.

If you are a University of Sheffield student going abroad in 2015/16 or 2016/17 we want to reassure you that this decision should not impact on your Erasmus+ mobility and that we do not anticipate any changes to the grant that you will receive for your time abroad.

The University of Sheffield will play its part in ensuring that any new future arrangements continue to support student and staff mobility, promote borderless research collaboration and enable our being fully part of an internationally-engaged higher education system.

Will I be able to work in the UK whilst being a student?

Yes, during the transition period the UK remains a member of the EU and remains bound by EU legislation.

I have a compulsory year abroad as part of my course - what does this mean for me?

During the transition period the UK remains a member of the EU and remains bound by EU legislation. We understand that the UK, including UK universities, will continue to be able to access EU programmes on the current basis.

We would like to reassure you that we believe that the study in Europe required as part of your course will go ahead as planned. We shall make sure we keep you up to date with any changes that might impact on your studies and that we will support you in every way possible to achieve your academic goals.

Will arrangements for Research Council UK (RCUK) research training funding for non-UK EU nationals continue?

The Government has confirmed on 1 December 2016 that “Research Council studentships remain open to EU students starting courses in academic year 2017 to 2018. The funding support will cover the duration of their course, even if the course concludes after the UK has left the EU”. This builds on RCUK’s statement of 6 July 2016 that “EU students eligible for RCUK support under current rules will continue to be eligible for RCUK fees-only support if currently undertaking or about to start in the 2016/17 academic year, and will continue to receive fees-only funding for the duration of their courses”.

Staff FAQs

I'm a member of staff at the University and an EU national from outside the UK - can you help me seek a permanent right to stay in the UK?

The Government has confirmed that there will be no immediate changes following the EU Referendum, including in the circumstances of non-UK EU citizens living here. This includes those studying or working at UK universities. And there will be no immediate change to our UK visa policies. Please see the statement from the Government on the status of EU nationals in the UK.

During the transition period the UK remains a member of the EU and non-UK EU staff retain the right to remain under the current arrangements.

We are working hard to clarify the long term position of non-UK EU staff once the UK actually leaves the EU. This is a key priority for the University and one which we, along with others in the sector, have taken up as a matter of urgency with the Government. We will keep those colleagues affected updated as the details become available.

Should I still apply for EU research funding?

Yes. The referendum result has no immediate effect on those applying to or participating in Horizon 2020. UK participants can continue to apply to the programme in the usual way. The future of UK access to European science funding will be a matter for future discussions. Government has said it is determined to ensure that the UK continues to play a leading role in European and international research.

For more information see the statement from Jo Johnson MP, Minister of State for Universities and Science, on higher education and research following the EU referendum.

Update 13 August 2016: The Government has issued a further statement on EU research funding, stating "where UK organisations bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis for EU funding projects while we are still a member of the EU, for example universities participating in Horizon 2020, the Treasury will underwrite the payments of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU".

Will my research funding from the EU continue?

During the transition period the UK remains a member of the EU, so the UK university sector’s participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 will continue.

Update 13 August 2016: Please see the further statement from the Government on EU research funding.

Further information for staff

View letters which have been sent to our University community and partners regarding the result of the referendum.

The implications of Brexit on immigration

The University hosted an information session for staff titled 'The implications of Brexit on immigration' on Friday 21 October led by immigration expert Hazar El-Chamaa from Penningtons Manches.

Watch a recording of the session (for staff only – you'll need to be logged into Muse/your staff Google account)

The information provided is correct as of 21 October and does not constitute legal advice. Before proceeding with an application, staff are advised to check the gov.uk website for up-to-date information and seek legal advice as needed.


Information on these pages is accurate to the best of the University's knowledge and based on advice from the UK government and national bodies for universities. However, we reserve the right to update and amend information as we seek further clarification on questions arising from the referendum.