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UCL and Brexit

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FAQs for staff

This page provides information for all staff about the implications of the UK leaving the EU.

UCL is a global university through our outlook, people and enduring international partnerships. Our staff and students are our first priority in our response to Brexit, and we continue to engage the UK government to protect your rights.

This page is regularly updated, as and when new information is available. 

We have a helpline to signpost UCL staff to relevant support for Brexit related queries - email eustaffqueries@ucl.ac.uk or tel 0203 108 9483 (ext 59483)

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

The UK has now formally left the EU.

We are now in a transition period until 31 December 2020, while the EU and UK negotiate their future relationship. During this time, the UK will continue to follow EU rules despite leaving EU institutions, and virtually all EU-UK cooperation remains unchanged.

UCL is monitoring the situation closely and is engaged in contingency planning, should the UK and the EU not reach agreement on their future relationship by the end of the transition period.

For the latest information on getting ready for Brexit, see below and go to www.gov.uk/brexit

Rights to continue living and working in the UK

How do EU/EEA/Swiss nationals apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?

Most EEA nationals will need to apply for Settled (or Pre-Settled) Status to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. You will need to have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.

You will still need to apply for Settled Status even if you have a registration certificate or permanent residence document. To check whether you need to apply, visit Settled Status – Eligibility.

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 for Settled Status. Alternatively, if you will reach 5 years’ continuous residence at some point by 31 December 2020, you can choose to wait to apply until you reach 5 years’ continuous residence. The Settled Status scheme is free for all applicants.

UCL is providing support to UCL staff who are considering making an application. If you need assistance accessing the EU Settled Scheme app (now available both on android device and iPhone), contact eustaffqueries@ucl.ac.uk or telephone 0203 108 9483 (ext 59483).

If I am an EEA national who has been working abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, will I still be eligible to apply for settled status?

You can still apply under the EU Settlement Scheme, provided that you have not been outside the UK for more than 180 days in the past twelve months. There is no restriction on the number of absences permitted, provided that the total length of absence does not exceed 180 days in any rolling twelve months: certain longer absences, such as where a Tier 2 (General) applicant is sponsored to work in a PhD level occupation and their absence is linked to research purposes may be permitted.

What support is available to staff who are non-EEA family members (dependents) of EU/EEA citizens?

We are offering the same level of support and advice that is available to EU/EEA staff. EU/EEA Dependents with a Biometric Residence Card Biometric Residence permit may apply for Pre/Settled status, if they meet the eligibility criteria.  Further information is available here Settled status - who can apply.

What support is available to non-EEA/EU dependents of EEA/EU staff?

UCL staff may apply for the Immigration Loan, if they or their dependents need immigration advice or to make certain visa applications.  Those looking for support for their family members may contact Human Resources on eustaffqueries@ucl.ac.uk.  

Where can employees go for further information about Pre-settled status, Settled Status and British Citizenship?

To review our detailed information visit Pre-settled, Settled status and British Citizenship

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

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.

I am a hiring manager.  What right to work checks do I need to do for interview candidates?

Government guidance clarifies that there will be no changes to right to work checks until 1 January 2021. A new immigration system will apply to people arriving on or after 1 January 2021. Current Government guidance is that employers will not be required to undertake retrospective checks on existing EU, EEA or Swiss employees.

I am a hiring manager. What should I say to new starters from the EU joining after Brexit day?

There is no reason why new starters shouldn’t take up appointments.

Citizens from the EU, European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland who are already living in the UK before 31 December 2020, will still be eligible to continue to live and work in the UK indefinitely, provided they apply for pre-settled status, settled status or citizenship before 30 June 2021.

I am a hiring manager. Is my department permitted to assist with immigration costs?

UCL pays for some immigration costs centrally through HR. These include Tier 2 Certificate of Sponsorship and the visa costs for in-country applicants. Faculties and departments may exceptionally choose to meet other immigration costs, including  for ILR and naturalisation applications.

Access the full guidance and details of the relevant procedures (pdf). 

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 meet regularly to identify the possible impact on student and staff post-Brexit. We have been lobbying, both directly and through a number of sectoral organisations, including the Russell Group, UUK and LERU, to make the case for a continued flow of international talent to the UK.

Will my qualification / professional registration be recognised by UCL after Brexit?

Where qualifications are stipulated on person specifications for UCL jobs, our recruiting managers have the discretion to determine whether UK and non-UK qualifications are commensurate with their requirements. 

If a job role requires professional registration e.g. General Medical Council (GMC), Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC), or other registration, which is dependent on a qualification, the applicant should check with the registered body to ensure that their qualification is recognised. 

Click here for more information on the NMC.

Click here for more information on the GMC.

For other registered bodies, please check their websites accordingly.  If you have questions related to your qualification / professional body registration that cannot be answered by the registered body, please contact your Head of Department or the recruiting manager for the role, in the first instance. 

How can I get information or advice about the impact of Brexit on my occupational pension?

USS members should visit the USS Brexit page here.

SAUL members should visit the SAUL Brexit page here.

NHSPS and the Civil Service Pension Scheme have not currently published any guidance on Brexit.

How will the UK’s new points-based immigration system operate from January 2021?

The UK government have issued a policy document called ‘The UK's points-based immigration system: an introduction for employers’. The new system will not apply to EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020. They and their family members are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and have until 30 June 2021 to make an application. UCL is in the process of reviewing its immigration policy and procedures. We have established a new webpage which we are regularly updating with information about the new points-based system being introduced from January 2021. 

Travel and a no-deal Brexit

I am a UK citizen. Will I need a visa to travel to the EU?

There will be no requirement for a visa, or a visa exemption form, until at least 31 December 2020. Please see Government guidance for travel beyond this date.

I am an EU citizen. If I travel abroad, will I need a visa to return to the UK?

For EU citizens with settled or pre-settled status, you will be able to travel in and out of the UK without requiring a visa. Irish citizens will not require any additional status.
Please see the government’s advice on 'Visiting the UK after Brexit' for more information.

I live in the EU and I commute to UCL London to work.  Can I continue to do this?

If you are an EEA citizen and you live in the UK for 50% of the year you may qualify for pre-settled status or settled status.  Alternatively, you can continue to visit the UK without a visa as long as you do not stay continuously for 90 days or more; if you are staying for 90 days or more you will need to apply for the European Temporary Leave to Remain status. 

More information is available on the government’s page on EU Settlement Scheme: frontier workers and their family members.

Will my EHIC still be valid for work trips in Europe?

Your EHIC will continue to be valid until at least 31 December 2020. UCL staff should continue to register their trip in order to be covered by UCL’s business travel insurance policy.

Academic Research

What about European partnerships beyond the conclusion of negotiations?

We will continue to grow and strengthen academic relations across Europe. We maintain the 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 part of its global relationships. As a global university, continued cooperation with the excellent universities, institutes, hospitals and companies of Europe is a non-negotiable part of our long-term vision.

One of UCL’s responses to the challenges of Brexit is the Cities partnerships Programme (CpP). The CpP offers seed funding over the three years it will run in each city. Every Faculty is receiving funding and projects will be led by senior academics and early career colleagues. Applications for funding will be open each year, supporting projects in conjunction with partners in Rome, Paris or Stockholm.

As well as the CpP, there are a number of other funding streams provided by UCL’s Global Engagement Office, supporting work in Europe and beyond. Please see the GEO website for the current opportunities.

I currently lead/work on a project funded by the EU. Who should I speak to if I have concerns?

Throughout the transition period, the UK will continue to contribute to the EU budget and therefore participate in EU programmes, including Horizon 2020, ERC, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions and Erasmus+.

UCL researchers can continue to bid for and participate in all Horizon 2020 calls issued by 31 December 2020 (and lead consortia). Successful application grants will be fully covered by the EU budget for the lifetime of the project, even if the project ends after the end of the transition period.

If you work on a Horizon 2020 project that requires access to security-related sensitive information restricted for EU Member States, you may be unable to continue with the project in its current form. The Government expects the European Commission to inform participants if this is the case. Any affected UK grant holders should contact UKRI at EUGrantsFunding@ukri.org  

If you have any concerns at all in relation to Horizon 2020, ERC, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions or the ERC , please contact the European Research and Innovation Office.

On 04 February 2020, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy issued a document outlining these points in more detail. Access the file below: 

I am involved in a clinical trial. Can it continue?

Brexit raises a number of issues in relation to medical and pharmacological research. Through the Brexit Mitigation Group, UCL has put in place a range of contingency measures to ensure that UCL’s research in these fields can continue.

In August 2018, the UK government issued a ”technical notice” providing outline information relating to the regulation of three areas (medicines, medical devices and clinical trials) in a no-deal scenario. Currently, EU legislation and regulation plays a major role in relation to all three, whether through the European Medicines Agency, EMRN or other mechanisms. Following Brexit, for clinical trials based in the EU, sponsors will need a legal representative in the EU27 in order to continue.

Following analysis by BMG members, advice from Legal Services and the UCL Joint Research Office, UCL has made the necessary arrangements to ensure the continuity of our clinical trials. All clinical trial Chief Investigators have been informed of the next steps.

I hold an Orphan Drug Designation. What should I do?

Brexit raises a number of issues in relation to medical and pharmacological research. Through the Brexit Mitigation Group, UCL has put in place a range of contingency measures to ensure that UCL’s research in these fields can continue.

In August 2018, the UK government issued a ”technical notice” providing outline information relating to the regulation of three areas (medicines, medical devices and clinical trials) in a no-deal scenario. Currently, EU legislation and regulation plays a major role in relation to all three, whether through the European Medicines Agency, EMRN or other mechanisms.

Academics seeking to maintain orphan drug registration within the EU27 following Brexit should contact Professor Geraint Rees (Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences) who is leading on the process of facilitating transfers of registrations.

Health services

I am concerned about the supply of a prescription medicine

UCL is not able to provide prescription drugs for students or staff or provide medical advice. If you are concerned about continuity of supply of medicines then you should make an appointment with your GP who will be able to advise you. If you are not registered with a GP then you can find a local practice using the NHS GP Finder

Help and advice

What support services are available for employees?

UCL employees can access personal support from the University’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), Care First, on a confidential basis. Care First understand that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit can be a cause for worry and concern. For practical queries or emotional support, including issues linked to Brexit, please call 0800 174 319 to speak to one of their Information Specialists or Counsellors. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year for staff.

Is there support available for PhD Students?

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

What support can I give to my students / direct reports?

Given the ongoing uncertainty and complexity of Brexit, it can be difficult to know where to direct students and colleagues for the most up to date information.

At important points in the Brexit process, UCL’s Internal Communications team will circulate a Brexit Update email to all colleagues. This contains a short summary of the relevant political events of the week, a short summary of mitigating action for a particular issue as well as links to other commentary, articles and advice.

If in doubt, direct students and colleagues to either the UCL Brexit page and FAQs. Line managers should speak with their HR Business Partners if they would like further advice.

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.

Dignity at Work Advisers offer informal support for employees experiencing bullying and harassment in the workplace.  For further support regarding racial and xenophobic harassment, please visit the Equalities & Diversity website

Staff and student mobility 

Can I still apply for staff mobility under the Erasmus+ scheme?

Yes. Throughout the transition period, there will be no changes to the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme.

Where can I find out more about the implications of Brexit on Erasmus+?

For more information, please see:-

•    UK National Agency Brexit Update 
•    European Commission Notice on Brexit  and Erasmus
•    UCL Student Brexit FAQs
•    UCL Erasmus pages and UCL Erasmus Brexit FAQs

Working with media

I have been approached by the media for comment in relation to my academic research relating to Brexit

UCL encourages academics to promote their academic research in the media. 

Media Relations is able to support with pitching in stories or thought leadership pieces to the media, advising on media strategies and creating broadcast opportunities. For more information, go to services for media or contact the media relations team at mediarelations@ucl.ac.uk.

If you have an urgent media issue, you can also contact the out-of-hours Media Relations number on: +44 (0)7917 271364 (Please note this is to be used for urgent issues only and not routine enquiries).
 
There are also opportunities to promote Brexit related research on the European Institute and UCL Brexit hub webpages:

I have been approached by the media for comment in relation to how Brexit might affect my academic research

UCL academics may be approached directly by media for their views on how Brexit might impact the university and its research. You are entitled to speak to media and express your views. However, please make clear that you are speaking in a personal or academic capacity and not on behalf of UCL or representing an institutional position. 

If you would like advice from UCL Media Relations, please contact the media relations team at mediarelations@ucl.ac.uk or visit services for media

If you have an urgent media issue, you can also contact the out-of-hours Media Relations number on: +44 (0)7917 271364 (Please note this is to be used for urgent issues only and not routine enquiries).

I have been approached by the media for comment in relation to UCL’s institutional position on Brexit

Please contact UCL Media Relations at mediarelations@ucl.ac.uk or check the media relations team contact list

If you have an urgent media issue, you can also contact the out-of-hours Media Relations number on: +44 (0)7917 271364 (Please note this is to be used for urgent issues only and not routine enquiries).