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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 is due to leave the EU on 31 January 2020, and currently has not agreed a Withdrawal Agreement which will result in a “no-deal” Brexit. UCL is monitoring the situation closely and is engaged in contingency planning for the eventuality of a no-deal scenario.

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

******* IMPORTANT INFORMATION FOR MANAGERS, RECRUITING MANAGERS AND EU APPLICANTS AT UCL ********

Latest short guide for supporting EU staff members - October 2019

We have put together a quick guide to Brexit resources and support available for UCL’s EU staff, for colleagues with EU team members or direct reports - click here to download the guide.

EEA nationals and Brexit on 31 January 2020 in the event of a no-deal

UCL is a global institution and our leaders and academics have been key expert contributors to the Brexit debate since the referendum.

UCL welcomes all applicants and values the diversity they bring. We are committed to supporting our international staff in all aspects of their employment with us. 

We provide our staff with up to date information on our Brexit pages as soon as is practicable. However, as this is a fast-moving policy area in which there is a lack of clarity on the Government’s position, this notification should be read as correct at the time of writing.

If you are an EU national or an eligible non-EU national family member of an EU national and are thinking of applying for a role at UCL or you have accepted a role at UCL it is important that you read this communication to understand your status and how UCL will support you in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

1.    If you are an EEA or Swiss national or a family member of an EEA or Swiss national and are already resident in the UK:

You will still be able to live and work in the UK after 31 October 2019 and therefore you are strongly encouraged to apply for a suitable role or accept a role at UCL.   However, after 31 October you may need to demonstrate your continued right to live here. 

It may be sensible for you (and your eligible family members), who have not applied under the EU Settlement scheme to do so as soon as possible. This means that you will be “in the system” which may help on entry clearance at borders in a no-deal scenario (i.e. evidencing that you were resident in the UK before 31 January 2020 and have the right to enter / reside on this basis.)  The deadline for applications under the EU Settlement Scheme in a no-deal scenario is currently set at 31 December 2020. 

If you have been offered a role at UCL and you would like assistance accessing the EU Settled Scheme app (now available both on android device and iPhone), contact eustaffqueries@ucl.ac.uk or +44 (0) 203 108 9483 to make an appointment.

2.    If you are an EEA or Swiss national or a non EEA/Swiss family member of an EEA or Swiss national and are applying for a role at UCL or have been offered a role at UCL and you are not yet resident in the UK:

Currently, you will still be able to live and work in the UK after 31 January 2020. However as matters presently stand if you haven’t taken up residence by 31 January 2020 you will not be able to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.  Rather, if you are coming to work in the UK and are intending to stay beyond 31 December 2020, again as matters presently stand, you will be required to apply under the European Temporary Leave to Remain scheme (ETLR). This status will be issued for a maximum non-extendable period of 3 years and you will be able to be apply to the then applicable UK immigration status upon or prior to its expiry.

On being offered a role it may be sensible for you (and your family) to take up residence in the UK – and to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme - on or before 31 January 2020, (albeit that the deadline is presently set at 31 December 2020) if at all possible.  If you are lawfully able to do so then you will be treated in the same way as those at 1 above.

If you have been offered a role at UCL and you would like assistance accessing the EU Settled Scheme app (now available both on android device and iPhone), contact eustaffqueries@ucl.ac.uk or telephone +44 (0) 203 108 9483 to make an appointment.

3.    If you are an EEA or Swiss national or a non EEA/Swiss family member of an EEA or Swiss national and are applying for a role at UCL or have been offered a role at UCL and you will not be resident in the UK until after 31 October 2019:

As matters presently stand, if you are intending to stay beyond 31 December 2020 you will need to apply for ETLR as at 2 above.

The current Government has indicated a shift in policy affecting the timeframe for ending free movement, if the UK leaves the EU without a deal on 31 January 2020.

There are major practical and legal barriers to introducing an alternative new immigration system after 31 January 2020 and again, as matters presently stand we expect the ETLR or a similar scheme will apply to those entering between 1 February 2020 and 31 December 2020.

We strongly encourage you to apply for a suitable role or accept a role at UCL and we will keep you and all of our staff informed of any changes as we learn about them on our Brexit pages.

You may also wish to keep an eye on the press and also the government website.

UCL supports all of our prospective and current employees in obtaining the correct immigration status required for their particular circumstances.  When we know further details we will signpost you in obtaining the correct leave to remain documentation and we offer an interest-free immigration loan for specialist advice. 

If you have any specific question relating to this please email eustaffqueries@ucl.ac.uk or telephone the helpdesk on +44 (0) 203 108 9483 (ext. 59483)

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.  

 

Rights to continue living and working in the UK

How will Brexit affect my immigration status?

Most EEA nationals will need to apply for Settled (or pre-settled) Status to continue living in the UK after 31st December 2020 (if no deal) or 30th June 2021 (if there is a deal). 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 to update your visa to settled status. The settled status scheme opened fully on 30 March 2019. It is free for all applicants.

How do I 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 31st December 2020 (if no deal) or 30th June 2021 (if there is a deal). 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 to update your visa to settled status. 

The Home Office have stated that they will continue to look to grant status rather than refuse it.

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).

The settled status scheme is free for all applicants. Those who have paid the fee, will have it reimbursed (by the government) to the card they made the payment. 

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?

From the 30th March 2019, the EU Settlement Scheme will be open to all EEA citizens (and their dependents) resident in the UK by 12th April 2019.  Our 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 on interview candidates?

Government guidance clarifies that there will be no changes to right to work checks until 1 January 2021, even if there is a ‘no deal’ Brexit.

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 in the UK (prior to the end of the transition period) 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 31 December 2020.

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals who are entering the UK for the very first time after 31 January 2020, will be able to do so using their passport/ID card. No visa will be required to enter. They will then be able to live and work freely in the UK for up to three months. If they wish to remain in the UK beyond three months, they will be required to apply for 'European Temporary Leave to Remain', or an alternative suitable visa, which will allow them to continue living and working in the UK for up to 36 months. Note: Irish nationals will not be required to obtain this status.

To apply, the individual must:
• be an EU/EEA or Swiss national (except Irish nationals); and
• arrive in the UK for the first time, after the UK leaves the EU; and
• want to stay in the UK for more than 3 months.

EU/EEA and Swiss nationals who are granted ‘European Temporary Leave to Remain’ will be able to stay in the UK for 36 months from the date of their application. European Temporary Leave to Remain will be a temporary, non-extendable immigration status. 

On expiry of their European Temporary Leave to Remain, EEA/Swiss nationals will need to apply for an appropriate visa under the new immigration system (see the Government’s proposed White Paper.)

The right to remain in the UK beyond the three years will be clarified once the Government’s future immigration system is formally approved.  It is highly likely that those in skilled roles, with salaries above £30,000 will be granted an appropriate visa.

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.

Travel and a no-deal Brexit

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

Even in the event of no deal, UK nationals will still be able to visit the EU without a visa for up to 90 days.  For stays over 90 days, you should check the published information on the relevant Foreign Office travel advice page.

In the event of no deal, from 2021, UK citizens will need to pay a fee (of around €7) for a visa exemption, called the ETIAS scheme.  This is part of a new electronic travel authorisation system applying to all “third country” visitors to the EU, similar to the US ESTA regime.

Non-British/non-EU passport holders will continue to need a Schengen visa to travel to Europe. 

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.

Is flight disruption likely?

The European Commission has said that UK airlines will still be able to operate flights between the UK and the EU. The UK government has offered similar assurances for EU airlines. Most airports have a live flight status update and it would be worth checking your flight before you set off for the airport. In the event of no-deal, British citizens should allow extra time for passport control as you may no longer be able to use the EEA/EU passport lanes. If you are delayed let your line manager/administrator/colleagues know and keep your line manager updated.  If you are travelling on University business booked through Key Travel they may be able to assist with alternative travel arrangements:  ucl@keytravel.com or 0161 819 8844

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?

If the UK leaves with no deal, your EHIC will no longer be valid. All UCL staff should 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 the next round of funding have just opened so if you ae looking for support for a project in conjunction with partners in Rome or Paris, please do apply. A call for an Academic Director for a third city will be published later this year.

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?

If you currently hold, or work as a partner on, an EU grant, whether it be for Horizon 2020, ERC, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, COSME or an Erasmus+ award, you may be aware that the UK government has committed to underwrite funding UK entities for the duration of the project, even in the event of “no deal”.

This commitment extends to the participation in, and coordination of, Horizon 2020 projects by UK institutions that arise from proposals:

  • Submitted before exit day.
  • Submitted after the exit day and where the UK is eligible to be a “third country” participant (including most collaborative grants).

Unless the European Commission later decides to the contrary, UK beneficiaries can also continue to coordinate Horizon 2020 projects even in the event of a "no deal" Brexit. Existing Horizon 2020 projects that are coordinated by UCL are not at risk of termination, and in a "no deal" scenario the UK Government underwrite will encompass UCL's funding for its coordination tasks. UCL colleagues seeking to submit a new Horizon 2020 proposal as coordinator are asked to contact the European Research & Innovation Office (ERIO) to discuss the most appropriate approach for their planned project.

The process for registering for underwrite funds depends on the particular funding stream, with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Education (DfE) operating slightly different procedures.

ERIO has registered all of our current Horizon 2020 and FP7 grants, some 340 projects in total, including over one hundred ERC grants along with our MSCA, IMI, RFCS grants and others. There are no additional actions required from PIs for these grants. The ERIO team will be making sure that any additional information or documentation required to draw down on the government underwrite, should it become necessary, is in place.

The ERIO team have provided more information on their Brexit page. You can also find information on applying for funding on this page

For other projects such as COSME and Erasmus+ projects, including KA1, KA2, KA3 and Jean Monnet awards, colleagues from the Global Engagement Office, Go Abroad Team and ERIO are in liaison with the Cabinet Office Grants Management Function to upload the necessary details for all current projects.

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

A “no-deal” Brexit would raise 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. After a no-deal 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?

A “no-deal” Brexit would raise 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. After a no-deal Brexit, for clinical trials based in the EU, sponsors will need a legal representative in the EU27 in order to continue.

For academics seeking to maintain orphan drug registration within the EU27, in the event of no-deal, UCL has the appropriate legal representation in place. Transfer of registration is not automatic so if you require this then please contact Professor Geraint Rees (Dean of the Faculty of Life Sciences), who is leading on this process.

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.

UCL’s Internal Communications team circulate a Brexit Update email to all colleagues every Friday. 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?

If the UK and EU conclude a withdrawal agreement, the UK will continue to participate as normal in programmes financed by the current Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF), which includes Erasmus, until the end of the transition period 31 December 2020.  Beyond that, the UK Government has signalled its intentions to join the Erasmus+ successor scheme but participation would depend on the UK and EU’s future relationship.

In a “no-deal” situation, the government has committed to underwrite successful Erasmus+ bids. Successful bids are those that are approved directly by the European Commission or by the National Agency and ratified by the European Commission. This includes current projects and those that are only informed of their success, or who sign a grant agreement, after the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. The guarantee commits to underwrite funding for the entire lifetime of the projects. This should include all Erasmus+ staff mobility activities taking place before 31 May 2019 where the activity can continue.

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).