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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 left the European Union. The transition period ended on 31 December 2020. 

The government has set up a webpage that provides targeted information for Higher Education Institutions on the new relationship with the EU, with guidance covering areas such as the EU Settlement Scheme and the new UK immigration system. 

Please note we are currently in the process of updating the FAQs on this page. Some pages to which the links below lead are also due to be updated with the latest information.

 

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 and that you were living in the UK before 1 January 2021. 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) or Skilled Worker 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?

Please visit the UCL Right to Work web page for up to date information and guidance about the rules concerning this issue.

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 Skilled Worker 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.

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.

Following Brexit, is my qualification / professional registration still 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 does the UK’s new points-based immigration system operate?

As of 1 January 2021, free movement has ended and the UK’s new points-based system has taken effect. Under the new system, EEA and non-EEA nationals are considered in the same way.

Under the new system, EEA nationals will be able to come to the UK for six months without the need to obtain a visa, in order to carry out certain business or academic activities, such as going to a conference or a meeting, but not to do a work placement or internship.

For those involved in EU research programmes, the UK and EU have agreed to facilitate the entry and residence of students, researchers, trainees and volunteers.

EEA nationals who moved to the UK by 31 December 2020 are eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme and will have until 30 June 2021 to do so.

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

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

You do not need a visa for short trips to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. You’ll be able to stay for up to 90 days in any 180-day period. You may need a visa or permit to stay for longer, to work or study. For more, see the latest government guidance.

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

For EEA national with settled or pre-settled status, you can travel in and out of the UK without requiring a visa. Irish citizens do not require any additional status. Please see the Government’s advice on 'Visiting the UK as an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen' for more information.

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

Visit the UCL Immigration from 1st January web page for information about the frontier workers permit and permitted paid engagement routes, both of which offer channels whereby EEA nationals commuting to the UK to work can continue to do so. If you are an EEA national and you live in the UK for 50% of the year you may qualify for pre-settled status or settled status if you moved here before January 2021. 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  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?

The UK government advises that if you travel to an EU country you should have either:

- a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC)
- a UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC)
- travel insurance with healthcare cover


If you apply for a card now, you’ll get the new UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC) instead of a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). They are both valid if you’re travelling to an EU country. If your EHIC is still in date, you do not need to apply for a new GHIC.

Apply for a GHIC for free on the NHS website.

UCL staff should continue to register their trip in order to be covered by UCL’s business travel insurance policy.

 

Academic Research

Can UK researchers still apply for EU funding?

Yes. The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement includes agreement for the UK to associate to Horizon Europe, the EU’s €95.5 billion, 7-year Framework Programme for Research and Innovation that succeeds Horizon 2020.

This means UK researchers will be able to participate in nearly all parts of Horizon Europe, including leading and participating in collaborative projects, European Research Council, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, European Research Infrastructure Consortia (ERICs), European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), European Innovation Council (EIC).

The UK is also associating to the European Cooperation in Science and Technology (COST) programme.

See our full set of FAQs on the EU-UK deal's implications for research for further information.

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

UCL colleagues with queries or concerns regarding the impact of Brexit are invited to contact a member of the team at UCL's European Research and Innovation Office (ERIO) to discuss any specific requirements:

Existing Horizon 2020 projects where UCL is the Coordinator: Ilaria Marsili
Other existing Horizon 2020 projects: Giles Machell
Intellectual Property, IP protection, and data matters: Martin Scott
Clinical matters: Juliet Ellis
Other queries: Kimberly Cornfield

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.

Currently, EU legislation and regulation plays a major role in relation to medicines, medical devices and clinical trials, 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.

Currently, EU legislation and regulation plays a major role in relation to medicines, medical devices and clinical trials, 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.

What about European partnerships beyond Brexit?

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.

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 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 at UCL?

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+?

The UK government has decided not to associate to the next Erasmus+ programme. The UCL Study Abroad team has successfully secured a budget from Erasmus+ to support outbound student mobility until May 2022. 90% of our Erasmus+ agreements with partner universities in Europe have been extended, too. 

The UK government has announced it will create a new student mobility scheme, the Alan Turing Scheme, which will offer grants for UK students to study abroad. Full details remain to be announced.

We will update this space with information as and when it becomes available.

For more information, please see:

•    UK National Agency Brexit Update 
•    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).