The University of Oxford saw 230 resignations from EU academics in 2017 compared to 171 resignations in 2014-2015 before the referendum. The institution has reported the highest number of EU resignations from 105 universities. However, the university has highlighted its recruitment of a large number of EU staff so overall numbers were generally the same.
Oxford follows a nation-wide pattern with over 2300 EU academics having resigned from British universities over the past year. This amounts to a 19% increase compared to before the EU referendum and a 10% increase from 2015-2016.
The figures are a result of freedom of information requests by the Liberal Democrats to discover the impact of Brexit on talent in higher education.
A spokesman for Oxford University has said: “The status of colleagues from other parts of the EU has been a major concern for the university and we have called for clear commitments on this issue to reassure staff and students who are already here or hoping to join us.
“The recent joint report on Brexit negotiations confirmed the rights of academics and other staff currently in the UK but the university will continue to call for a free flow of academic talent to and from the EU in the final Brexit settlement.”
Layla Moran, MP for Oxford West and Abingdon and Liberal Democrat education spokeswoman, has called the departures the “latest sign of a damaging Brexodus.”
A spokesperson from the Department of Education has commented: “The UK higher education sector has a long established tradition of attracting the brightest minds from around the world, at all stages of their careers. We value the contribution that EU staff make to the sector, and we want that to continue.
“The citizens’ rights agreement allows for a fair and reciprocal deal that will guarantee the rights of more than three million EU citizens living in the UK and a million UK nationals living in the EU – so they can carry on living their lives as before.”
A deal negotiated between Theresa May and Brussels has allowed EU citizens who arrive in the UK by the official exit date to apply for settled status if they have been living in the country for more than five years. The deal, agreed upon before Christmas, will also allow anyone who has lived in the country for less than five years before the UK’s departure in March 2019 to apply to remain until they have reached the five year point.