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UK's exit from EU: information for staff

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The deadline for the UK to leave the European Union has been extended to 31 January 2020. This is a 'flextension' which means that while the UK has until 31 January 2020 to leave the EU, it could leave earlier if a deal is ratified.

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: 30 October 2019

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

Will EU/EEA staff be able to work at UK universities?

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.

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. Doing so will mean that you are “in the system” which may help for example with entry clearance in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

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 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal)
  • 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 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal).

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

What will I need to apply for 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.

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

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, there will be changes if you visit the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland. It would mean that from 31 January 2020 (or earlier if a "deal" with the EU is ratified prior to 31 January 2020, such that the UK could leave before 31 January 2020) , the rules for passports, driving, EHIC cards and more would change. Please check the Government’s Visit Europe after Brexit website to make sure you can travel as planned.

It may be advisable not to arrange travel over the Brexit date to avoid potential delays and other difficulties should there be a no-deal scenario.

If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, there should be no immediate changes to travel, as it is anticipated that the rules will be the same until at least 2020.

If you plan to travel to the EU in the next few months and prior to or around 31 January 2020 or if you are going be on a secondment to any country in the EEA, you should speak to your Head of School or Function, who may seek advice from professional services colleagues on any additional actions that need to be taken.

What documents do I need before travelling to the EU after Brexit?

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

In the event of a no deal Brexit, the visa and immigration requirements of the country you intend to visit will apply to you. Some information can be found on Providing services to EEA and EFTA countries after EU exit.

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 – there may be changes to these charges after the UK leaves the EU. Further advice is published on the website.
  • Driving in the EU – if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you may need to apply for a driving permit. Further information is published on the 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

You can also download the app via the details below-

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.

After Brexit, your European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) may not be valid.  However, in case of any emergencies please follow the guidance highlighted 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 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.

How will Brexit affect transfers of personal data?

Currently personal data can flow freely between the UK and countries within the EEA, subject to certain safeguards required by law. In the event of a Brexit with a deal, it is expected that these arrangements will continue.

In the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK will immediately become a 'third country' as defined by EU data protection laws. 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 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

More information can be found here:

The University currently has to comply with EU Procurement Regulations, will this remain the same following Brexit?

The latest EU rules are enshrined into UK law within the Public Contract regulations 2015 and therefore this might not be immediately affected by Brexit. If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the public procurement regulations will remain unchanged during any implementation period. Notices for UK contract opportunities will still be accessed on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU), Tenders Electronic Daily (TED). However,  if the UK leaves the EU with no deal, 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 has the University done with its suppliers to prepare for Brexit?

In order to respond to the exit from the EU, we have been identifying potential risks to its 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. The impacts on our suppliers and their supply chains will depend on the deal we have but this could result in 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:

  • 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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