SINN Féin’s Caoimhe Archibald has said a no-deal Brexit would be deeply damaging to the university and research sectors.
The East Derry MLA was speaking after heads of 150 universities issued a letter warning that a no-deal Brexit is “one of the biggest threats” the institutions have ever faced.
The party’s Further and Higher Education spokesperson commented: “This is a challenging time for universities and the research sector with the implications of Brexit as yet fully unclear but the impact is already being felt in terms of research collaborations, and with staff and students evaluating their futures.
“A no-deal Brexit would have disastrous consequences for the sectors. Indeed any outcome which does not maintain the benefits of EU membership will be damaging.
“The education and research sector currently benefits from EU funding, not just research funding, but also the structural funds which have been an enabler for research and innovation and collaborations with other universities.
“Researchers are already being impacted by the Brexit uncertainty in terms of accessing collaborative programmes and many are now considering futures elsewhere.
“Mobility of staff and students, and potential immigration requirements are issues of concern.
“The British government’s White Paper on migration will have done little to dampen this.
“There is also uncertainty regarding tuition fees with the potential for students from here to be treated as international students when studying south of the border.
“Sinn Féin will continue to highlight all these issues and keep the rights of citizens here centre stage in the Brexit process,” she added.