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Tuition Fees: EU Students

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:42 pm on 29th April 2019.

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Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education) 3:42 pm, 29th April 2019

I will touch on several points that the hon. Lady made. During oral questions we heard concerns raised about the right to remain. I regularly meet Scottish Minister Richard Lochhead, and I will reflect upon representations he has made to me and work with the Home Office. The immigration White Paper will look at all issues relating to visas or post-study work schemes. It is important that that consultation takes place, and I urge Members to participate in it.

At the moment, we are keen to look at association to the successor scheme to Horizon 2020, Horizon Europe. That will begin later this year. The key point is that postgraduate tuition fees are separate from undergraduate tuition fees, and we do not want to do anything that will damage the potential of UK universities to research and continue with their research partnerships. [Interruption.] Gordon Marsden seems keen to keep on chuntering from a sedentary position. He is welcome to make a contribution in a moment, but I am trying to answer the points made by Carol Monaghan.

I welcome the hon. Lady mentioning that this is taxpayers’ money and that subsidy is involved. It is right that we consider how that subsidy is spent effectively. I urge caution that we do not simply send out a message that EU students happen to be unique. We want students from all parts of the globe—Chinese students, Indian students and students from the ASEAN countries—to be involved and raise their opportunity, and to send out a crucial message that when it comes to soft power, the UK will remain a global leader in higher education.