Norway warns its would-be expat students against UK study programmes

Published:  5 Feb at 6 PM
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As British expatriates in Norway worry about Brexit’s effects, the government is warning its would-be expat students to avoid British universities, study programmes and foreign exchange programmes.

The Scandinavian country’s government minister for higher education told local broadcaster NRK she no longer recommends the UK as a suitable place for Norwegian students due to the anticipated effects of Brexit. She suggests avoiding any foreign exchange programmes as well as degree courses, although those already involved in university courses are now covered under various agreements between the two states. The EU’s Erasmus programme is most at risk from the Brexit fallout.

The UK, especially England, has been the most attractive destination for students from Norway, with some 4,200 currently studying at its universities and technical colleges. The minister is hoping arrangements can be made in order to allow Norwegian students the freedom to attend UK universities as well as taking part in other foreign exchange opportunities, but she believes the present situation is fraught will too many obstacles. Unanswered questions about the validity of the present-day agreements on fees, healthcare and school credits are likely to result in existing students being unable to finish their studies, take their examinations and receive degrees or other accreditations.

Previously, both countries’ governments had agreed that, based on the UK’s leaving the EU under an organised exit, UK students in Norway and their equivalents studying in the UK would not lose their existing rights, but the agreements would no longer be valid in the ever more likely case of a no-deal Brexit. Norwegian businesses working with British companies in the export and import sectors are also raising their concerns about the impact of a no-deal Brexit.

Both sides have made plans they hope will avoid serious disruption to trade, but have no real idea what a no-deal exit would mean for their businesses. Whilst the Norwegian government is working non-stop to find answers, the backstop-related chaos in the British parliament is negating their efforts. Exporters of seafood have major concerns about their perishable shipments being ruined due to customs delays at borders, although a number of bilateral agreements including transitional deals could possibly avert serious disruption.
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