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UK's exit from EU: information for staff

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Overview

The UK leaves the European Union on 31 January 2020. The Withdrawal Agreement sets out that there shall be a post-Brexit transition period ending on 31 December 2020. 

We will continue to update this update as more details become available.

As an institution, we are committed to securing the best outcomes for our staff and students. 

Research colleagues looking for the latest information on the impact of Brexit on Horizon 2020 can find more information on the Research & Enterprises website.

Students can find information on the UK's exit from the European Union on Essentials.

Universities UK's guidance on the implications of a 'no deal' Brexit for universities can be accessed here.

Last updated: 31 January 2020


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:

Frequently asked questions

Can EU/EEA staff continue to work at UK universities?

At the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020, if the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the rights and status of EU, EEA and Swiss citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021.

If the UK leaves without a deal you and your family can still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021. The scheme is free to apply for and has been fully open since 30 March 2019. However, you will need to have been living in the UK before the exit date, 31 January 2020.

Formally you have up to 31 December 2020 to apply but if you have not applied already, it might be sensible to do so as soon as possible.

What does a ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled status’ mean?

You will usually get settled status if you:

  • started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 
  • lived in the UK for a continuous 5-year period (known as ‘continuous residence’)

Five years’ continuous residence means that for 5 years in a row you’ve been in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man for at least 6 months in any 12-month period.

If you did not have 5 years’ continuous residence when you applied, you will usually get pre-settled status. You must have started living in the UK by 31 December 2020.

More information can be found on What 'settled' and 'pre-settled' status means

What will I need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?

To apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, you will need proof of:

  • your identity
  • your residence in the UK, unless you have a valid permanent residence document, or valid indefinite leave to remain in or enter the UK

When you apply, you can either:

  • scan your document and upload your photo using the ‘EU Exit: ID Document Check’ app for Android
  • send your document in the post and upload your photo using the online application (you can take this yourself)

If you are making an application for settled status and do not have access to an Android phone, our HR Office can help you. Please call ahead on extension 8751 to make an appointment.

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

The University of Reading does not intend to impose any changes to employment contracts as a result of the UK’s exit from the EU. However, employment contracts are subject to the UK government’s visa requirements and immigration status, as all employees must have the right to work in the UK. Based on the information available, we anticipate EU colleagues will be eligible to work in the UK and therefore there will be no change to their contracts of employment. If there are any changes to visa requirements and immigration status, we will advise our EU national colleagues accordingly.

Is my pension affected 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.

Can UK university staff still work abroad on University business?

The Withdrawal Agreement means that there will not be any immediate changes to travel arrangements until at least 31 December 2020. 

If, at the end of that period, the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be changes if you visit the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. 

Further guidance has been provided by the government on the Visit Europe after Brexit webpage

What documents do I need before travelling to the EU?

The government has provided information and guidance on passport validity and renewals.

You can find more information on the Visit Europe after Brexit website

Please continue to follow University policy and procedures before travelling as this will ensure we hold the correct information for you. This includes booking travel through our contracted travel providers and completing the overseas travel form well ahead of your travel plans. More information can be found on https://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/finance/Insurance/fcs-ins-business.aspx

Are there other things I should consider when travelling to and from the EU around Brexit?

The UK government has issued specific advice for those planning to travel to the EU in the coming months, which you should read carefully, including:

  • Mobile phone tariffs – using your phone in the EU may become more expensive and your operator may not continue to provide free EU roaming. Check with your operator and turn off roaming and data services if you are worried.
  • Bank card charges – the government anticipate that most people will not experience changes to these charges. Further advice is published on the Gov.uk website.
  • Driving in the EU – the documentation required for driving in the EU varies depending on the country you are travelling to. Further information is published on the Gov.uk website.

What to do in case of an emergency whilst traveling to the EU on University business after Brexit?

The University has travel insurance cover for all staff and students travelling on University business.

For emergency medical and travel assistance, please contact the medical assistance company Healix  in the first instance so that they can advise you on the next steps based on your circumstances.

They are available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Details are +44 (0) 2086 084 100 or rsa@healix.com

You can also download the app via the details below- https://www.rsabroker.com/rsa-business-travel-assistance-app

What should I do if I have a pre-existing condition or am on routine medication?

If you have a pre-existing condition and are on routine medication, please ensure that you take enough supplies for your trip as this will not be covered by the University’s insurance cover.

In case of a medical emergency while overseas, please contact the medical assistance company Healix as outlined above. 

Further guidance has been provided on the Visit Europe after Brexit website.

Is there any guidance for UK colleagues on a secondment to an institution in the EU/EEA?

Please get in touch with your Head of School or HR for advice and support. The UK government's Living in the EU: prepare for Brexit provides information for UK nationals living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland or Ireland about preparing for Brexit if there is no deal.

Providing services to EEA and EFTA countries after Brexit also provides useful advice to UK businesses on service provision if there’s a no-deal Brexit after the end of the transition period.

How will Brexit affect transfers of personal data?

The current arrangements for data flowing freely between the UK and countries within the EEA, subject to certain safeguards required by law, will continue until 31 December 2020. 

After this date, in the event of a 'no deal' Brexit, the UK will immediately become a 'third country' as defined by EU data protection lawsunless during the transition period the EU grants the UK “adequacy” status, meaning it is satisfied about the quality of our national data protection provisions. Without this status, transfers of personal data from the EEA to the UK will be classed as 'restricted'. These legal restrictions will apply if you receive personal data from the EEA and/or if you use data processors 'established' in the EEA, such as providers of cloud storage/hosting.

This means countries within the EEA will have to put in place additional legal safeguards. The most likely safeguard the EEA countries will put in place is the adoption of EU Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs). If you are receiving personal data from the EEA you may be asked to sign SCCs or other documents. If you do, please forward these to legalservices@reading.ac.uk straightaway. Under no circumstances should you agree to new or varied terms concerning data transfers without seeking legal advice.

Transfers of personal data:

  • from the UK to the EEA will be unaffected.
  • from the UK to non-EEA organisations may require additional safeguards. Any queries in this regard should be run past IMPS/Legal Services.
  • from the UK to another party in the UK may require additional safeguards if it includes personal data relating to EEA data subjects. Any queries in this regard should be run past IMPS/Legal Services.

If you require more advice please contact imps@reading.ac.uk.

More information can be found here: https://ico.org.uk/about-the-ico/news-and-events/news-and-blogs/2020/01/statement-on-data-protection-and-brexit-implementation-what-you-need-to-do/

Do the EU Procurement Regulations still apply?

The latest EU rules are enshrined into UK law within the Public Contract regulations 2015. The public procurement regulations will remain unchanged during any implementation period. During the transition period, notices for UK contract opportunities will still be accessed on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). However, after 31 December 2020, the way businesses access and respond to the UK public sector notices will change. A new UK specific e-Notification Service will replace OJEU TED and will be ready when the UK leaves the EU.

What is the University doing with its suppliers to prepare?

We have been identifying potential risks to our supply chain and mitigate the risks, and where appropriate maximise opportunities, that Brexit presents. The Procurement team along with input from our stakeholders have written out to our top 100 suppliers and ones deemed to be business critical in respect of the delivery of services to carry out a survey to understand what they are doing to prepare themselves for Brexit, and what the potential risks are. We continue to review the responses and work with the suppliers, which could include working with new suppliers, price increases or procuring new products or services. 


Useful websites

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

  • Gov.uk provides the most up-to-date information on living and working in the UK.
  • European Commission is the executive of the EU. It will also publish details in due course of the UK government’s negotiations to withdraw from the EU.
  • Universities UK represents UK universities and is involved in shaping the higher education policy agenda. 
  • Research Councils UK is the strategic partnership of the UK’s seven Research Councils.
  • Horizon 2020 is Europe’s biggest Research and Innovation funding programme.
  • UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) provides information to all international students in the UK and the staff who work with them.
  • Universities & Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) runs the application process for all undergraduate, teacher training and some postgraduate courses.

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