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Brexit: Analysis and FAQs


Government guidance for UK nationals if there's no Brexit deal

This information was last updated on 11 April 2019.

Q. For the purpose of this guidance, who is an 'EU national'?

For the purpose of this guidance, the definition of ‘EU national’ includes all of the following nationalities: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lichtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

Q. I'm an EU national who is currently employed by the University. Can I continue to work at the University of Cambridge?

Yes. For EU nationals who were resident before exit date (now 31 October 2019), in the event of no deal your residency rights remain unchanged and you can continue to work at the University without restriction.

You must apply for either ‘pre-settled’ or ‘settled’ status, through the EU Settlement Status scheme, before 31 December 2020. You must apply for this scheme even in the event of a no-deal Brexit. The EU Settlement Status scheme is live and open for applications, which are now free of charge. 

If you are currently employed by the University and working abroad but were resident in the UK before 31 October 2019, you will still be able to apply for either pre-settled or settled status provided you have not been absent for more than five years continuously (for any reason) and return to the UK before 31 December 2020.

Further guidance on the EU Settlement Status scheme, which also encompasses guidance for your family members, is available on the University’s webpages and on government webpages.

Q. What is European Temporary Leave to Remain and who needs to apply?

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, European Temporary Leave to Remain will allow EU nationals arriving in the UK for the very first time after 31 October 2019 to live, work and study in the UK.

You will need to apply if you:

  • are an EU national (with the exception of Irish nationals); and
  • arrive in the UK after the UK leaves the EU; and
  • want to stay in the UK for more than three months.

EU 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.

After 36 months, EU nationals would be required to apply for an immigration status under the new immigration system, which will come into effect from 1 January 2021.

How do I apply for temporary leave to remain?

No further details are currently available on the application process for Temporary Leave to Remain. Further details will be published once information is provided by the government.

This status will only be introduced in the event of a no deal.

Q. I'm an EU national who is currently employed by the University. Can I continue to apply for other jobs within the University?

Yes. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, you are able to apply for other positions at the University without restriction.

Q. Will there be any changes to the way you handle my data in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

No. The rules governing the collection and use of personal data are currently set at EU-level by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). In the UK, the Data Protection Act 2018, alongside the GDPR, provides a comprehensive data protection framework. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, there would be no immediate change to the UK’s own data protection standards. This is because the Data Protection Act 2018 would remain in place and the EU Withdrawal Act would incorporate the GDPR into UK law to sit alongside it.
Therefore, existing data protection processes and procures that are in place at the University will continue to apply after 31 October 2019.

Q. I'm an EU national who is currently employed by the University. Will my rights within the workplace change?

The EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 brings across the powers from EU Directives. This means that workers in the UK will continue to be entitled to the rights they have under UK law, covering those aspects which come from EU law.

Domestic legislation already exceeds EU-required levels of employment protection in a number of ways. The government will make small amendments to the language of workplace legislation to ensure the existing regulations reflect that the UK is no longer an EU country. These amendments will not change existing policy.

Will my rights within the workplace change if I work for the University in an EU country?
If you work for the University in an EU country, you should make yourself aware of the any relevant legislation implemented in the EU country in which you work.

Q. Will there be changes to social security for those on International Assignments in the event of a no-deal Brexit?

An International Assignment is where an employee is spending a defined period of time working abroad in one or more countries, normally for six months or more, where they previously worked in the UK for the University and intend to return to work in the UK for the University on the completion of the Assignment.

Will EU social security agreements remain valid?
No, any agreement made under EU treaties will no longer be valid. The UK has bilateral social security agreements in place with some countries in Europe and these would remain valid, although it is likely they would need to be updated in the event of a no- deal Brexit. Where a bilateral agreement is not already in place, one will need to be negotiated.

What is an S1 certificate and what is its purpose?
Employees living and working overseas are currently able to apply for an A1 and accompanying S1 certificate. The S1 certificate (formally E106) entitles the individual to access the healthcare system in the country where they are working, to the same level as a local employee. If a local employee has to pay for a particular treatment, then the employee with an S1 would also be expected to pay. The S1 certificate does not guarantee free medical treatment.

Will employees still be able to access local health care facilities through their S1 certificate?
S1 certificates are generally issued for a period of two years. At this time, it is not clear whether S1 certificates awarded under the EU social security agreements will remain valid until their expiry date. Further updates on this status will be provided when information becomes available from the government.

Will employees be provided with private medical insurance if they are no longer able to access state provided medical facilities with their S1 certificate?
No. The University does not currently provide private medical insurance, so if needed employees within Europe would need to purchase supplementary medical insurance.

What is an A1 certificate and what is its purpose?
The A1 certificate confirms which country’s social security legalisation applies to an employee whilst they are working overseas, to avoid contributions being made in more than one country.

Will employees still receive social security protection through their A1 certificate?
At this time, it is not clear whether A1 certificates awarded under the EU social security agreements will remain valid until their expiry date (they are generally issued for two years), or if they will be cancelled on the 29th March 2019. We will provide updated advice once we receive further information from the government about this.

What are the implications for social security if the A1 is no longer valid?
If the A1 certificate becomes invalid, your social security liability would need to be re-assessed and you could become liable to social security in another European Country. Both employee and employer contributions could become payable, which may require establishing an overseas payroll.

If you were no longer able to contribute to your Home Country social security scheme, it is expected that you would look into the possibility of paying voluntary social security contributions to protect your long-term and retirement benefits. HR will provide more advice about this if this is the case.

Q. Will I still be able to travel for short-term work-related activity in the EU?

Yes. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, airlines wishing to operate flights between the UK and the EU would have to seek individual permissions to operate from the respective states (whether that is the UK or an EU country).

In this scenario, the UK would envisage granting permission to EU airlines to continue to operate and would expect the EU to reciprocate in turn. If such permissions were not granted, there could be some disruption to some flights.

In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK would be considered a third country. Third country nationals can remain in the Schengen area for 90 days (approximately three months). If you are travelling to a Schengen area country, you should ensure that your passport has been issued within the last 10 years on the date of arrival and that it has at least three months’ validity remaining on the date of intended departure from the last country visited in the Schengen area. (The actual check carried out could be that the passport has at least six months validity remaining on the date of arrival).

Q. How will the University keep me updated?

The University will communicate with you directly via your University of Cambridge Hermes email address when there are significant updates. This website ( will also be regularly updated and revised to reflect up-to-date information.

Q. Who should I contact if I have queries about my position?

The University’s International Student Office provides information on a range of student-related immigration matters for applicants, students and their family members. 

The HR Compliance Team have significant experience with assisting with immigration applications for staff members.

The Cambridge Research Office provides advice on the impact of Brexit on EU grants, research projects and collaborations. For further information please contact the EU team on using the email title 'Brexit query'.