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UK’s exit from EU – update by Brexit Working Group

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Teams across our University continue to prepare for the United Kingdom’s transition out of the European Union on 1 January 2021.

Since our last update to colleagues on 3 November, the Brexit Working Group has met again to assess the key risks to our institution and consider mitigation plans.

As the Vice Chancellor, Robert Van de Noort, said in his all staff briefing last week, some of the biggest risks to our University continue to be around the supplies of goods and services and changes to travel and visa requirements for our colleagues and students between the UK and EU. We are also monitoring the future impact on research funds, and reviewing the Spending Review details to ensure we are linking everything together.

The Brexit Working Group is led by Chief Financial Officer Samantha Foley and includes, among others, colleagues from Procurement, Finance, HR, ISLI, Student Services, Global Recruitment and Admissions, Research and Legal.

Colleagues may find the updates below useful:

  • Procurement – Our Procurement colleagues continue to monitor the generic risks –disruption to supply across borders including lead time; suppliers having labour shortages and potentially additional tariff charges.

The University currently utilises over 5000 suppliers, and it is important that Schools and Functions continue to advise on any critical business areas where there might be concerns over the continuity of supply. The Procurement Team will engage with such suppliers in mitigating the risks that have been identified by the business. 

We anticipate longer lead times for some goods so where possible please allow longer times from ordering and when the goods are required.

  • Insurance - Anyone travelling on University business will continue to be covered by medical insurance but a review of this cover in light of Brexit changes is being carried out and we will communicate more information soon.
  • Students – We have written to our students currently, or those about to go, on study or work abroad placements in EU countries. This communication acknowledges the uncertainty our students may be feeling, especially given that some aspects of the future UK-EU relationship remain unclear, and provides key information through simple FAQs. The more detailed Student FAQ pages are being updated as well.
  • Human Resources – EU colleagues, and those who are a dependent of an EU national, are reminded about the EU Settlement scheme.  Colleagues in HR are happy to support those who remain unsure about the process of applying under the EU settlement scheme. More information is available on the FAQs on the Brexit pages.  The deadline for applications under the EU settlement scheme is 30 June 2021.

From 1 January 2021, free movement will end and the UK will introduce a new points based immigration system.  Under the new system EU (excluding Irish) and Non-EU citizens will be treated equally and anyone wishing to live and work in the UK will require a visa to do so.  A new Skilled Worker route will replace the existing Tier 2 route for new applicants.  Some aspects of the current staff recruitment process will need to be updated due to the requirements of the new visa regime.  Information for recruiting managers and applicants will be available shortly from HR.

  • Finance – Goods imported from the EU will from 1 January be subject to VAT and customs duty (as applicable) on arrival at the UK ports, in the same way that VAT and duty currently applies to imports from beyond Europe. Colleagues will need to arrange to pay the freight forwarder the VAT and duty due before the goods will be released for onward despatch to the University.

Where colleagues wish to export goods to the EU from 1 January,  they should be prepared to deal with additional paperwork which may be required by the Customer to meet their country’s specific requirements (for example customs declarations).

It is expected that over the next 2 to 3 weeks additional information will become available, and we will provide further guidance as soon as we are able.

We will continue to keep you informed on our preparations and the current advice and guidance. In the meantime, you can look at the UK Transition website provides up to date information and advice related to travelling to the EU, living and working in the EU and staying in the UK if you are an EU citizen.

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