Equality Impact Assessment - Results
Title of Policy
Change to residency criteria for eligibility to student support in Scotland
Summary of aims and desired outcomes of Policy
Relevant National Outcomes:
"We are better educated, more skilled and more successful, renowned for our research and innovation."
"Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens."
This policy will review the current residency criteria and eligibility for student support for those who have been granted Calais Leave and those who have been granted leave by virtue of being a dependent child of a person granted Calais Leave (leave in line). It will also review the eligibility for student support for those who have entered the UK and been granted indefinite leave to remain as victims of domestic violence.
The desired outcome is to consider how to amend the current regulations to enable such groups to access tuition fee and living cost support.
Directorate: Division: team
Advanced Learning & Science Directorate.
Higher Education & Science: Student Financial Support Team
A review of the current residency criteria and eligibility for student support was carried out, of which this EQIA forms a part.
The EQIA identified that extending the current student support system would advance opportunities for all those who have entered the UK with Calais Leave and those who have been granted indefinite leave to remain as victims of domestic violence, by giving them the opportunity to access tuition fee and living cost support to study courses of further and higher education.
The Scottish Government does not consider there to be any direct or indirect discrimination as a result of this policy change. Those who will benefit from the extended eligibility rules are not being treated more favourably than others on the ground of nationality, but because they have special immigration status. It is believed this is a proportionate and justifiable position in the circumstances.
At present, in order to access tuition fee and living cost support, students are required to meet residency rules which are laid out in legislation and require students to:
- Be ordinarily resident in Scotland on the relevant date (the relevant date is the first day of the course; ordinary residence can be described as habitual or normal residence, by choice, over a period of time in one place and does not include residence solely for the purposes of education);
- Have been ordinarily resident in the UK and Islands for 3 years immediately prior to the relevant date;
- Be settled in the UK within the meaning of the Immigration Act 1971 (for example, be a UK national or otherwise have a right to stay in the UK without time restriction, for example, 'Indefinite Leave to Remain'). Or be:
- Under the age of 18 and have lived in the UK throughout the seven-year period preceding the relevant date; or
- Aged 18 years old or above and, preceding the relevant date, has lived in the UK throughout either half his or her life or a period of twenty years.
Currently, individuals entering the UK who are granted Calais Leave are not eligible for tuition fee or living cost support as they do not have a permanent settled status under the Immigration Act 1971. Some of the individuals granted indefinite leave to remain as victims of domestic violence may not be eligible as they are unable to provide evidence that they have been lawfully resident in the UK for the last 3 years.
The aim of this policy is to review the current regulations and propose a change to the policy that would allow those granted Calais Leave and indefinite leave to remain as victims of domestic violence to access tuition fee and living-cost support while they study. This contributes to the following national outcomes:
- We are better educated, more skilled and more successful, renowned for our research and innovation.
- Our young people are successful learners, confident individuals, effective contributors and responsible citizens
The Scope of the EQIA
The policy has relevance to the protected characteristic of sex and race. Therefore, given that the change to the residency policy would open up opportunities to those granted Calais Leave and individuals granted indefinite leave to remain as victims of domestic violence, a concise and focused EQIA was carried out.
At present, referring to information provided by the Home Office, 769 individuals have arrived in the UK and been provided Calais Leave and the proposed change would have the potential to benefit those currently of an age to apply for Further or Higher education and those who would become eligible over the coming years. The Home Office have confirmed that 1,308 individuals were granted indefinite leave to remain as victims of domestic violence across the UK (latest available data from 2018). This change would therefore have the potential to benefit all those individuals who are currently in a position to apply for Further and Higher education courses.
The EQIA identified that there are gaps in the information available relating to the impact on the protected characteristics of the people who have been granted Calais Leave and those who have indefinite leave to remain as victims of domestic violence. However, opening up student support to individuals in these groups is seen as a positive change as it allows those in further and higher education to access tuition fee and living-cost support while they study.
Recommendations and Conclusion
Extending the current eligibility criteria for access to student support would have a positive impact for all those who have been ganted Calais Leave and those who have been provided indefinite leave to remain as victims of domestic violence.
The number of people in the UK who have been granted leave under these schemes will continue to be monitored as well as those who have applied for student support in Scotland. The Home Office will be contacted for any details that can be provided on the number of people who may still arrive in the UK under these schemes. As SAAS gather the statistical data on student applications we will be able to monitor the impact of this policy change on relevant groups going forward.