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Here is how the Brexit white paper addresses youth and student travel

Jul 13, 2018

This week the UK released its vision for a new relationship with the European Union. The long-awaited Brexit white paper has been described as the most important document since the June 2016 referendum. The white paper says the government seeks “a principled and practical Brexit.” The document lays out five main areas of focus.

Here are the main points of interest for the youth and student travel market:

  • Tourism

In the year ending September 2017, UK residents made approximately 50 million non-business related visits to the EU spending £24 billion, and EU residents made over 20 million non-business related visits to the UK spending £7.8 billion. The UK therefore proposes reciprocal visa-free travel arrangements to enable UK and EU citizens to continue to travel freely for tourism in the future, maintaining the close links between the people of the UK and the EU. The Government wants UK and EU nationals to continue to be able to use the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) to receive healthcare should they need it while on holiday.

  • Students and young people

The UK and the EU should continue to give young people and students the chance to benefit from each other’s world leading universities, including cultural exchanges such as Erasmus+. The UK proposes a UK-EU youth mobility scheme to ensure that young people can continue to enjoy the social, cultural and educational benefits of living in each other’s countries. The UK already operates a number of youth mobility schemes with other global partners, for example with Australia and Canada, on which this could be modelled.

  • Streamlined border arrangements and administrative procedures

The UK already has existing arrangements with low-risk, non-EU countries that enable smooth access at the border, such as the Registered Traveller Scheme in place with a number of countries like the US and Japan. The UK wants to agree reciprocal arrangements with the EU that ensure smooth passage for UK nationals when they travel to the EU, for example on business or on holiday. The UK will strengthen the security of its borders, which should include exploring whether to apply the electronic travel authorities proposed for third country nationals to each other’s nationals, and ensuring travel documents meet minimum security standards. But at the border, as now, tourists and business visitors should not routinely have to face questions about the purpose of their visit. The UK also wants to minimize administrative burdens for those seeking permission to travel, enter or reside in each other’s territories, including short, simple and user-friendly application processes.

Controversy and optimism follows Brexit white paper

The initial release of the white paper sparked chaotic scenes at the House of Commons. Copies of the document were not immediately available to MPs as the new Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, got up to introduce it. Proceedings were suspended while late copies arrived. After the document was widely released, the reaction from tourism and higher education representatives was primarily optimistic.

Vivienne Stern, Director of Universities UK International, said: “It is encouraging to see that the importance of attracting world class researchers and international students has been acknowledged.  We also welcome the UK’s proposed participation in Horizon Europe and the next Erasmus programme, which will benefit EU member states as well as the UK.

“We urge the government and the EU to engage and reach agreement on these matters as quickly as possible to provide the certainty that university students and staff need on opportunities to study abroad and collaborate in research.”