Brexit: What is the current situation with Erasmus+ and student exchange programmes and what do we know will happen in the longer term?

By Emma Meredith on

Whatever the outcome of the ongoing negotiations between the UK and the EU, Brexit could lead to changes for the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ Programme However, the good news is that  if the UK Government manages to reach a deal with the EU, then nothing changes until 2020 and funding will continue as normal until the end of the programme cycle in 2020.   If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, then the Government has put in-place a guarantee which states that they’ll underwrite the current programmes in place. So, UK colleges with successful Erasmus+ bids will need to register them in order to claim against the Government’s guarantee.  

There’s a lot of information out there already to help colleges register for the government’s guarantee; it’s done through the Cabinet Office portal so colleges should take a look at that information in addition to the UK Erasmus+ website and make sure that their projects are registered. The situation beyond 2020 is unclear and the Government is looking at a range of mobility options including continuing participation in Erasmus+ and developing its own replacement programme. 

What are the immediate effects on those trips planned for the remainder of this year?

So, the first thing is not to panic! At a college level, things will remain pretty much the same immediately after Brexit.  However, the most important thing is that the people who are in charge of planning in the college, have a record of the trips so that they know who is abroad in case anything does go wrong.  

Some things will change though.  For individuals, and that’s both staff and students travelling to the EU, there are a number of checks that colleges should make before the trip takes place, particularly if it’s a no deal Brexit. It’s really important that there are more than six months’ validity on the passports of the people travelling.  Reciprocal health arrangements, such as the current EHIC cards, may lapse so travel and health insurance might need to be purchased. Additional driving documents might be needed and mobile phone charges might rise.  

There is also the possibility that there will be longer queues at the border and at some stage, UK nationals will have to join the non-EU immigration lanes. The best thing to do is to keep an eye on the news and Brexit developments as the situation will become clearer once we know if the arrangements under which the UK will leave the EU.

Another change that may occur after Brexit involves transporting materials and equipment to an EU Member country.  Whilst this will ultimately depend on the country being visited and the equipment being transported, Colleges may be required to complete further documentation. One such document is an ATA Carnet; a document which avoids having to pay duty when taking equipment overseas.  Our advice is that the person responsible for planning and organising the trip is familiar with the ‘Get Ready’ website and check that they are compliant with the requirements for travel.  

Get ready for Brexit - GOV.UK

Emma  Meredith