Over 2,300 EU academics resigned from UK universities last year: Report

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More than 2,300 EU academics have resigned from British universities during the past year due to uncertainty over post-Brexit rights.

The massive departures came amid a report by the British Academy, warning that the UK’s world-leading university sector could be threatened because of prospective changes to immigration rules after Brexit.

Among the subjects facing the greatest threat are modern languages and economics, The Independent reported Saturday.

Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman Layla Moran said, “This alarming rise in EU academics leaving our universities is the latest sign of a damaging Brexodus.”

“Britain’s universities have thrived from having access to talented European researchers, and from years of European cooperation through schemes like Horizon 2020 and Erasmus.”

“Now all this is being put at risk by this government’s botched handling of Brexit, where we seem to be losing all the benefits of EU membership while keeping the costs,” she added.

There was a 19 percent increase in departures of European staff from universities last year in comparison with before the EU referendum, according to new figures.

Also, there was a 10 percent rise from some 2130 resignations in 2015-16, the figures show.

The University of Oxford had the highest number of resignations, with 230 EU academics resigning last year compared to 171 in 2014-15, according to freedom of information requests by the Liberal Democrats to 105 universities.

Another institution, King’s College London, lost 139 members of EU staff, in comparison with 108 before the referendum in June 2016.

The University of Cambridge saw 173 resignations last year, up from 153 staff the previous year, and 141 in 2014-15.

Younger academics are concerned about the validity of their qualifications after Brexit, while others are worried over whether they will be eligible for lucrative European research grants, said Maike Bohn, a spokesperson for the3million, which campaigns for citizens’ rights.

Britain is due to leave the bloc in March 2019, but a Brexit deal will have to be agreed by the fall of 2018 to give national parliaments time to approve it.