‘Project Fear’ has been dealt yet another blow as a threatened ‘Brexodus’ of EU academics failed to materialise last year, with British universities attracting foreign staff in even greater numbers.
Pro-EU campaigners and university elites had claimed European academics would flee the United Kingdom after in the event of a Brexit vote, but Freedom of Information requests have revealed the number of foreigners being attracted to British higher education institutions has actually increased since the 2016 vote to Leave the European Union, The Telegraph reports.
5,416 EU staff who lef did leave the United Kingdom in 17, but 6,801 new staff arrived — a significant net increase, and a rise in recruitment of 25 per cent on the previous year.
116 out of 130 universities were surveyed, of which two-thirds were ‘net gainers’, compared to 34 which saw a net loss of EU staff and seven which experienced no overall change.
Eleven of the universities surveyed saw the number of EU staff they employ rise by more than 50, suggesting the claims that a Brexit vote would signal the country had taken an “insular, xenophobic” turn and put off the continent’s best and brightest were unfounded.
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“The Leave decision and our limping progress out of the EU are emotionally troubling to many academics. But ‘Brexodus’, though much heralded, seems not to be happening,” commented Robert Tombs, a professor of French history at St John’s College, Cambridge.
“There are doubtless complexities behind the crude figures, yet the general pattern is clear: although noticeable numbers of academics from the EU left last year, a considerably greater number — 25 per cent greater — arrived.”
The research does not prove or disprove claims made before the EU referendum by Lord Patten of Barnes, Chancellor of Oxford, that his university would be impacted by a Brexit vote — because it refused to answer the Freedom of Information request.
However, the number of EU staff arriving at Cambridge, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, and the London School of Economics (LSE) were all confirmed as nearly two-thirds higher than the number leaving.