UCL and Brexit


FAQs for EU staff

This page provides practical advice for our current EU staff, as well as links to further information.

UCL is a global university through our outlook, people and enduring international partnerships. Our EU staff and students are our first priority in our approach to Brexit, and since the EU referendum result we have been engaging the UK government to protect your rights.

This page is regularly updated, in particular with regards to information on the EU Settlement Scheme. 
EU staff have also been contacted direct regarding the Scheme Pilot. See below for further information.

Please also check the Universities UK website for the latest updates.

*NB on implementation period: The UK government and the EU Council have reached an agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This deal now needs to be approved by both Parliaments. Should the deal enter into force, it will cover an implementation period (or ‘transition period’) period, which will run from the day the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 to 31 December 2020. UCL is monitoring the situation closely and is engaged in contingency planning for the eventuality of a No Deal scenario.

How is UCL using the “no-deal” Brexit notices issued by the UK Government to inform Brexit planning?

Since October 2018, UCL’s Brexit Mitigation Group (BMG) has given priority focus to ensuring that UCL is as prepared as possible for a “no-deal” scenario. As part of our preparations, BMG members, with the support of senior colleagues across the institution, have analysed all of the Government’s “Technical Notices” on a “no-deal” Brexit, more than one hundred in total so far. Once published, these notices are allocated to one of seven BMG “no-deal” Work Plans, each owned by a BMG member. On the basis of these analyses,  mitigating actions, additional resource requirements identified and timescales are agreed by BMG.  The seven Work Plans are:

  • Visa and Immigration Policy for Staff and Students
  • Continuity of Service and Supply
  • Research and Research Funding
  • Student Mobility
  • Medicines, Medical Equipment and Regulations
  • Legal and Regulatory Matters
  • Other / Miscellaneous 

These Work Plans are further informed by academic expertise from across UCL and horizon scanning documents provided by the European Institute and the Global Engagement Office.

See here for an example of a government publication for how HEIs should prepare for a “no-deal” Brexit.  



How will Brexit affect my immigration status?

If you’re an EEA national, you  will need to apply for ‘settled status’ to continue living in the UK after June 2021. You will still need to apply for settled status even if you have a registration certificate or permanent residence document.

If you have not been resident in the UK for five years you are able to apply for pre-settled status. Once you reach five qualifying years, you can then apply to update your visa to settled status. If you do not qualify for settled status because you haven’t been resident in the UK for five years, you will be able to apply for pre-settled status. An application for settled or pre-settled status must be submitted by 30 June 2021. 

NB: message from Home Office, 6 Dec 18 - The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union today set out information for EU citizens and their family members in the UK in the event of a no deal exit from the EU. The UK Government:

  • confirms that if there is no deal, the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to be implemented, enabling EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 29 March 2019 to secure their status and continue to be able to work, study, and access benefits and services in the UK on the same basis after we exit the EU as they do now. The scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019 as planned.
  • confirms that the Home Office will continue to look to grant status rather than refuse and in line with the UK commitment to be more generous in certain respects than the draft Withdrawal Agreement, a person will not be refused status under the EU Settlement Scheme because, for example, they are not economically active or they do not hold comprehensive sickness insurance.

There would be some changes to the EU Settlement Scheme if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and further details are set out in the policy document.  In particular, as there will be no agreed implementation period, the application deadline will be brought forward to 31 December 2020.

The settled status scheme will open fully by 30 March 2019 but EEA nationals and their dependents are eligible to take part in the Home Office pilot of the scheme. UCL is providing additional support to UCL staff who are considering making an application through the pilot. See details below under EU Settlement Scheme Pilot.

The Government announced that settled status will be free for all applicants once the scheme is fully open. Until that time, anyone who pays, or has paid, the £65 fee (£32.50 for children) will be able to reclaim the cost from the Government.  Further details of this process will follow. 

What is the EU Settlement Scheme Pilot?

The Home Office is testing the EU Settlement Scheme through a series of pilots ahead of the public launch. This second phase of the pilot started on 15 November 2018 and ran until 21 December 2018 and covered employers in the HE and health and social care sectors. This pilot is testing the application process that EU citizens and their family members will use when the scheme opens. The app has entered a third pilot phase, and all Europeans with a valid biometric passport or EU dependents with a biometric residence permit may apply.  Any feedback provided to the Home Office will be used to make improvements to the process before the Scheme fully launches to the public by 30 March 2019.

Information on eligibility - You will only be able to take part in the pilot if you work for UCL and you are:

  • an EU citizen and have a valid biometric passport (this is an e-passport which has a digital chip)
  • or a non-EU citizen family member and have a biometric residence card with ‘EU Right to Reside’ on the back, which you have applied for on or after 6 April 2015

If you are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme pilot you will need to complete a short and simple online application form to:

  • prove your identity;
  • show that you live in the UK; and
  • declare any serious criminal convictions.

Application process during the pilot - To apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need to complete an online application:

  • Verify your identity - You will need to have a valid biometric passport or biometric residence card (issued by the Home Office) to apply in this pilot. All applications must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app to verify identity. This is currently only available to download on Android devices - an easy way to check if your device can use this app, is if your device has the technology to make contactless payments. A number of local authorities are offering an identity verification service to ensure those who do not have access to a suitable device are able to do so.  Go here for details of the locations where this service is being provided. If you cannot get access to this app during the pilot there will be alternative ways for you to verify your identity once the scheme fully opens.
  • Criminality check - You will need to complete the criminality check by declaring any criminal convictions. Only serious or persistent criminality will affect your application. This should not affect the vast majority of EU citizens and their family members.
  • Verify your residence in the UK - You will need to provide evidence of your residence in the UK. There are number of ways you can do this, for example providing your National Insurance number (if you have one). There may be cases where residence cannot be proven automatically in this way, and you will be asked to provide further evidence on your application. Information on the other types of evidence you can use can be found on GOV.UK. Alternatively, if you have a valid permanent residence document or valid indefinite leave to remain, you will just need to provide proof of that status.

Please note that making an application in this pilot is entirely voluntary. There will be no change to your current rights under EU law until the end of the planned implementation period on 31 December 2020.

The Government announced that settled status will be free for all applicants once the scheme is fully open. Until that time, anyone who pays, or has paid, the £65 fee (£32.50 for children) will be able to reclaim the cost from the Government.  Further details of this process will follow. 

Where can employees go for further information about visas and immigration?

UCL has held  six briefing sessions for staff interested in the EU Settlement Scheme pilot. A recording of the first session is available here: Immigration Clinics FAQs. This page also provides more details on the EU Settlement Scheme and on the requirements and process to apply for Permanent Residence and British Citizenship. 

You can also find information on the government website about residence and applying for British citizenship.

UCL HR are available to provide general information via the following email address: eustaffqueries@ucl.ac.uk and will continue to assess what further support can be made available.

Will UCL be providing any financial support for those who need help with immigration applications?

UCL offers an interest free Immigration Loan up to a maximum amount of £10,000 for eligible employees who wish to obtain immigration law advice and to make certain immigration applications.  Further information can be found on our Immigration Loan page

UCL has agreed to reimburse the £65 settled status fee for UCL employees’ Settled Status applications.  You may email your receipt to eustaffqueries@ucl.ac.uk, and the fee will be reimbursed through the payroll.  It is a taxable expense, therefore the payment will be grossed-up so employees receive £65 after deductions have been made. 

What support services are available for employees?

UCL employees can access personal support from the University’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) on a confidential basis. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year for staff.

Dignity at Work Advisers offer informal support for employees experiencing bullying and harassment in the workplace.

What should I do if I see or experience racism or harassment linked to the EU referendum result?

UCL does not tolerate racism, xenophobia or harassment in the work place or in study. All staff are responsible for ensuring that they behave in an appropriate manner, showing respect for staff, students and others working alongside or engaged with the UCL community. All staff are encouraged to appropriately challenge inappropriate behaviours and raise concerns with managers so these can be dealt with. This note provides you with guidance on what you should do if you experience or witness racism, xenophobia or harassment.

For further support regarding racial and xenophobic harassment, please visit the Equalities & Diversity website.

Is there support available for PhD Students?

Support for PhD students is available from Student Support and Wellbeing.

What support is available to staff who are family members of EU citizens?

We are offering the same level of support and advice that is available to EU/EEA staff.

Those looking for support for their family members may contact Human Resources on eustaffqueries@ucl.ac.uk.

Has the university considered the possible impact on UCL’s ability to attract and retain staff and students after Brexit?

To ensure that we continue to retain and attract the best people, senior leaders at UCL have formed working groups that meet regularly to identify the possible impact on student and staff numbers post-Brexit. We have also been campaigning to the government to ensure strategies are developed that enable us to secure the right talent and resources to continue to be a world-renowned university post-Brexit.

What is UCL doing to address any negative perception of the UK with our European partners?

We are working with many partners, including BIS, Research Councils UK, and LERU to minimise the risk that attitudes towards the UK post-referendum may harm our participation in EU funding. Click here for further information.

What about long-term relationships beyond the conclusion of negotiations?

We will continue to support and champion growing and strengthening academic relations across Europe. We maintain a view that as the UK looks to find a new place in the global community, academic and research cooperation across Europe will remain an essential, and indeed ever-stronger, part of its global relationships. 

For a global university, ongoing rich cooperation with the excellent universities, institutes, hospitals and companies of Europe is a non-negotiable part of our long-term vision. 

We will continue to enable such cooperation, and are already assessing long-term options to respond to whatever framework emerges from negotiations, including partnerships with European universities and establishing physical research and innovation operations in Europe.

Can I still apply for the Erasmus+ scheme?

The UK will continue to participate in programmes financed by the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which includes Erasmus, until the end of the transition period* (31 December 2020). 

UCL encourages students to apply for the Erasmus+ schemes. For more information, see Erasmus + on UCL Study Abroad

Will my Horizon2020 or ERC grant be affected? Is it worth applying for new Horizon2020 or ERC grants?

The UK will continue to participate in programmes financed by the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which includes Horizon 2020, until the end of the transition period* (31 December 2020). 

UCL encourages our staff to apply for Horizon2020 and ERC grants. For more information, see the UCL European Research and Innovation Office (ERIO), and our page about EU funded research at UCL.