Understanding free movement and migration in the European Union
Language and education
Much debate about intra-EU mobility focuses on those who move for work, but this can obscure the fact that people’s reasons for migrating tend to be more complex than that.
This can have ramifications for policymaking. For example, about half of EU migrants in the UK originally migrated there for work reasons, a third for family reasons, and 11% for study reasons. But EU migrants who moved for study reasons are the group that has the largest share of workers in high-skill occupations, so any post-Brexit policies designed to prioritise high-skilled migration need to take into account migration for study and the transition from study to work.
For example: would EU students be able to access education in the UK under the same terms that they do now (i.e. fees, funding, visas)? Would they be able to stay and work in the country after finishing their studies? Under what conditions? The same questions are also relevant for EU countries considering access for UK students.