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UK's exit from EU: information for staff

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  • Overview
  • Latest news for staff
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Useful websites
  • Overview

    This section is a rolling briefing to keep staff members informed of the issue. At the moment, it contains:

    • Latest news for staff
    • Frequently asked questions
    • Links to useful websites

    We will update this secton as soon as more information becomes available.

    Last updated: 23 June 2017

    Latest news for staff

    To make it easier to stay up to date, here you will find links to the latest EU news stories published on the staff portal:

    Last updated: 23 June 2017


    Frequently asked questions

    What does triggering Article 50 by the government mean?

    Invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty means that the United Kingdom is now committed to leaving the European Union. The exact timetable of this exit will be negotiated between the two sides, but the UK will be expected to have left by the summer of 2019. The Department for Exiting the European Union will oversee negotiations on behalf of the UK government, while four EU institutions – the European Council, the Council of the EU, the European Commission and the European Parliament – are likely to play a significant role in the negotiations.

    What does this mean for staff from EU countries who work and live in the UK?

    The UK currently remains a full member of the EU and at this point there is no change to visa requirements, immigration status or, contractual terms and conditions. Currently, EEA nationals who have been living and working in Britain for at least five years can apply for a document certifying permanent residence. Family members of EEA citizens living in the UK can also apply if they meet the relevant requirements as set out on the UKVI website

    Where can I find more information about this?

    In February 2017, we invited Alex Russell – an immigration expert from the law firm, Mills & Reeve – to present several information sessions to non-UK EU colleagues who may be affected by Brexit. The sessions had a practical focus with detailed information on the process involved in attaining permanent resident status and the application procedure for those wishing to become British citizens.

    Video recording of the information sessions with Alex Russell, included questions from attendees, are also available. You can view the session on Permanent Residence and on Naturalisation.

    If you are considering applying for British citizenship, both Reading and Wokingham Borough Councils are offering a checking service to assist with the process.

    Who can I speak to for advice?

    For any employment status related questions, please speak to your line manager or HR Business Partner.

    Any research grant or funding queries can be directed to Anne-Marie Van Dodeweerd

    The University also offers a 24x7 Employee Assistance Programme, Confidential Care, which provides independent and confidential support on a range of issues.

    What is the University doing to keep staff informed of the developments?

    We will provide information to staff and students when the government and EU make decisions on status of EU nationals.

    Will you continue to recruit EU nationals from within the UK and outside?

    Yes. We welcome applications from EU nationals and will continue to do so. The UK government has confirmed that there has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK as a result of the referendum, and that it 'recognises and values the important contribution made by EU and other non-UK citizens who work, study and live in the UK'. The UK remains a member of the EU for the time being and the government has confirmed that there will be no immediate changes to UK visa policies for university staff currently in, or contemplating coming to, the UK from the EU.

    Will contractual terms and conditions change for EU nationals working at the University?

    No. Your University of Reading contractual terms and conditions are unchanged and will be honoured, subject to future decisions by the UK government on visa requirements and immigration status. We will update you as soon as we are advised by the UK government of any changes.

    Does it affect the pension in any way?

    The University of Reading Pension Scheme (URPS) is a defined contribution arrangement and market volatility following the EU referendum may have some short-term impact on your fund, particularly if you are close to retirement. In these circumstances, you may wish to review any decisions made and consider taking independent financial advice. For members of the USS and the UREPF, which are both defined benefit schemes, your basic retirement benefits are guaranteed; however, if you are close to retirement and perhaps considering whether or how to invest any lump sum payment then you may also wish to take some specific financial advice.

    Will UK university staff still be able to work abroad on University business?

    Yes, there is absolutely no change to the UK nationals’ right to travel or work in EU member states. The University will continue to provide full professional support to any staff travelling or working abroad.

    Future visa requirements to work within the EU are subject to decisions in due course by the UK government and EU member states. We will update you as soon as we are advised by the UK government of any changes.

    What advice can staff give EU national students?

    The EU referendum outcome and the triggering of Article 50 will not lead to any immediate change to the immigration status of current EU students. All UK nations (England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland) have also confirmed in separate statements that current university students from the EU and those applying to courses starting in 2017–18 will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status. This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

    Universities Minister Jo Johnson said in December 2016 that EU nationals starting courses in the next academic year (2017-18) will continue to be eligible for Research Council PhD studentships to help fund their studies for the full duration of their course. This will be the case even if the course finishes after the UK has left the European Union.

    What about students participating in the Erasmus+ exchange programme?

    Students from UK universities currently participating in Erasmus+, including those taking part this academic year, will not be affected by the referendum result or the triggering of Article 50. The European Commission has confirmed that EU law continues to apply to the full in the UK until it is no longer a member. This therefore also applies to the projects financed through the Erasmus+ programme. The UK is not expected to leave the EU until 2019.

    Research FAQs

    This section relates to staff currently involved with or planning to submit grant application for EU-funded research projects.

    If your question is not answered here, please contact our EU Funding Managers in Research & Enterprise, Mischa Phillips and Elena Koukharenko


    Does the triggering of Article 50 affect existing EU-funded research programmes?

    No, it does not. In February 2017, a government White Paper on The United Kingdom’s exit from and new partnership with the European Union said: “All European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIFs) projects signed, or with funding agreements that were in place before the Autumn Statement 2016, will be fully funded, even when these projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU……For projects signed after the Autumn Statement 2016 and which continue after we have left the EU, HM Treasury will honour funding for projects if they provide strong value for money and are in line with domestic strategic priorities.”

    On Horizon 2020 bids, the White Paper said: “For bids made directly to the Commission by UK organisations (including for Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme and in funds for health and education), institutions, universities and businesses should continue to bid for funding. We will work with the Commission to ensure payment when funds are awarded. HM Treasury will underwrite the payment of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.”

    In addition, we also understand that any bids submitted before the UK’s departure from the EU will also be underwritten if awarded.

    What about new applications to Horizon 2020 and other EU-funded research programmes?

    While negotiations are underway, the UK remains a full member of the European Union, meaning there are no changes to the UK’s status in Horizon 2020 or any other EU funding programmes.  We should continue to apply for EU funds. If we don’t, it could mean missing out on major funding opportunities – particularly in areas like the European Research Council (ERC), the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), and many societal challenges. 

    To ensure the development and submission of potential applications, the University can provide funding, to help pay for travel to consortium meetings, or to help cover teaching commitments, for example. If you would like to apply for funding, please email the office of Deputy Vice Chancellor Steve Mithen directly, via

    Can UK institutions still co-ordinate EU bids?

    Yes. There is no change to the UK’s participation in EU programmes at the moment and so UK institutions are still able to co-ordinate proposals. 

    Will UK participation in EU proposals be viewed as a risk to their success? What should we tell our collaborators to convince them we should remain active partners?

    As stated, we are fully eligible to participate and be funded in EU proposals – it is still business as usual. Carlos Moedas, the European commissioner for research, science, and innovation has provided reassurances that UK scientists should not be discriminated against during any part of the assessment process.

    The University has created a website providing information for EU students and external collaborators here, accessible from a link the University homepage.

    How do we report any instances of UK partners being excluded or asked to take on different roles as a result of Brexit?

    It is important that we gather any evidence that UK partners are experiencing difficulties in accessing or applying for EU research funding. 

    If you have any evidence that this is occurring or has occurred contact your EU Funding Manager, who will provide you with a template response form. Once filled out, this should be sent to – with a copy to your EU Funding Manager. This will allow the University, and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (formerly the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) to collect evidence. The University will also pass on any evidence to the UK Research Office (UKRO) in Brussels.


    Useful websites

    The following websites give the most up-to-date information for international staff:

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