Department officials meet regularly with the Home Office to discuss a range of issues regarding migration and the UK higher education (HE) sector. Although my right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State, has not discussed the Russell Group’s European Skills Passport specifically with my right hon. Friend, the Home Secretary, we know that EU students, staff and providers make a powerful contribution to our world-class HE sector.
There are a wide range of options as to how EU migration might work once we have left the EU and we are working hard to assess the benefits and drawbacks of each potential model, all underpinned by robust analysis. On 18 September, the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its report on the patterns of European Economic Area migration on the UK. This followed its 11 September report on the impact of international students in the UK, which highlighted the important part that international student play in the UK education sector, the economy and our society. The government is grateful to the MAC for undertaking this work. We have always been clear that we want decisions about the future immigration system to be based on evidence. The MAC’s reports will inform those decisions and we will consider their recommendations carefully before setting out further detail on the UK’s future immigration system. We plan to publish a white paper on the future immigration system later this year.
To help provide certainty, we have given assurances on student finance for EU students starting courses in 2019/20 academic year or before, and assurances on research funding. We have also reached an agreement with the EU guaranteeing the rights of EU citizens living in the UK and of UK nationals living in the EU. EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020, along with their family members, will be able to stay, with the same access to work, study, benefits and public services that they enjoy now. Close family members living overseas will be able to join them here in future.