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£800 fee for first year EU students not in Britain by January

A charge of £800 is due to be levied on EU first years who are not in Britain by January, despite COVID-19 travel complications.

By Guy Taylor, Investigations Editor

Many students may be unable to relocate due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.

First year EU students at Bristol could incur costs of over £800 if they are not in Britain by 31 December, despite many being unable to relocate due to the pandemic.

EU students at UK universities who arrive after the transition period will not qualify for pre-settled status, the Home Office has said.

Bristol University has stated: ‘EU, EEA and Swiss students coming to live in the UK on or after 1 January 2021 for more than 6 months will need to apply for and secure a Student visa before arrival.’

This could result in some first year EU students having to pay £348 in visa application fees, as well as £470 per year for health charges as part of the Immigrant Health Surcharge (IHS).

EEA nationals already residing in the UK will not incur these charges. However, they will still need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.

Critics have said that the coronavirus pandemic has made it impossible for some overseas students to relocate to Britain in time.

Speaking to The Guardian, Luke Piper, Head of Policy at campaign group the3million, said: ‘These students have not been able to come to the UK, through no fault of their own. We should be able to make an exception for this cohort.’

The news follows the revelation that staff hired by Bristol University after the transition period will be responsible for covering the Immigration Health Surcharge, amounting to £624.

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Concerns have been raised that these costs could dissuade EU students and staff from applying to Bristol, lessening its status as a  ‘truly international University’. This comes amidst growing uncertainty over how the end of the transition period will affect cross-border programmes and funding.

On top of increasing costs on individuals, programmes such as the Erasmus+, which provides grants for students to study and work in Europe, may be at risk.

Featured: Bristol University's campus | Epigram / Lucy O'Neill

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