The future of Spanish Researchers in the UK, conditioned by Brexit


  • The Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK) has published a statement on their members’ views arising from the EU referendum result.
  • The possible changes in the national immigration policy are the main concern of the researchers.
  • If they were to leave the UK, Spanish researchers would relocate to other countries in the European Union and Spain.

London, 27th March 2017. The Society of Spanish Researchers in the United Kingdom (SRUK) has published a statement that outlines the main concerns of their members surrounding Brexit and proposes a series of measures to reduce the impact on the Research and Innovation (R&I) sector.

The survey was circulated during late 2016. In it, SRUK members exposed the potential changes in UK immigration policy as their main concern. 30% of the respondents have already changed their future plans as result of the referendum. An additional 43% are waiting for the negotiations to commence before making a decision. Most of the respondents are not aware or do not meet the eligibility criteria to apply for a permanent residence card, which would ensure their rights to remain in the country. If they have to move, more than half of the respondents would choose another country in the European Union to continue their research, and only 30% would return to Spain.

According to Emma Martinez, director of SRUK’s Science Policy Committee, “many of our members are still waiting on the future negotiations to decide on whether or not they remain in the UK. If the UK does not secure their rights, a considerable part will move to another country in the EU. This migration will take with them ideas, knowledge and collaborations that make the UK a leading country in R&I”.

María Jiménez-Sánchez, president of this Society, confirms, “Even with Brexit in the background, SRUK reiterates its commitment to promote scientific collaborations between the two countries”.

Among the measures proposed, SRUK/CERU encourages the safeguarding of rights for European citizens, which would continue allowing cross-sectoral collaboration and would ensure mobility and investment schemes, as strategies to alleviate the effect of Brexit for UK science.