The Welsh Government has told UKCISA that it plans to change its regulations that determine who qualifies to pay ‘home’ fees for higher education in Wales, to improve the position of Irish nationals. The changes to the regulations won’t be made before December 2021, and there will probably be a delay after that, before they are implemented.
Many Irish nationals already qualify to pay 'home' fees under the existing regulations, which you can read about on the UKCISA website.
The changes haven’t been drafted yet, so we don’t know the detail of what they will say. However, it seems likely that:
1. The category headed ‘3 years in Republic of Ireland/UK/Islands, settled in UK’ (which is described on page 14 of the pdf guide mentioned on the UKCISA website) will alter, so that instead of a student needing to be settled in the UK on the ‘first day of the first academic year of the course’, the student will need to be settled in the UK on the day on which the first term of the first academic year of the course actually begins.
2. There will be a new category that will operate for courses starting before 2028, covering a limited group of Irish nationals who were resident in the European Economic Area or Switzerland when the Brexit transition period ended. There will be a number of strict requirements for this category, which aren’t known yet.
Here is what the Welsh Government have said so far:
"Welsh Government intends to ensure that Irish nationals resident in the EEA and Switzerland at the end of the transition period are eligible for student support and home fee status when studying in Wales on courses beginning before 1 January 2028. An amendment to regulations is also planned so that certain settled persons undertaking a designated course in Wales need only be resident on the day on which the first term of the first academic year actually begins to be eligible for student support and home fee status. This will capture those who have been ordinarily resident in the United Kingdom, Islands and the Republic of Ireland throughout the three-year period preceding the first day of the first academic year of the course. The Welsh Government will issue a Student Finance Wales Information Notice in due course. These policy changes are subject to regulations being made, which are currently scheduled for December 2021."
UKCISA will publish a fresh story on the UKCISA newswall when the regulations are published.