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Brexit: Analysis and FAQs

 

“Students are the lifeblood of the collegiate university. The University of Cambridge has close to 8,000 international students from 120 countries. Students bring talent and diversity, and form the basis of a rich network of alumni and partners. It is our aspiration that the University of Cambridge remains the most welcoming and stimulating destination for highly motivated students from around the world embarking on undergraduate and postgraduate degrees.”

Prof Graham Virgo, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education

Q. Can EEA nationals, and their family members, protect their current status in the UK?

The current political situation is uncertain and subject to change. This update is correct as of 28 August 2018.

On 19 March 2018 the UK and EU announced they had reached a political deal on a “large part” of the draft agreement on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU. This covers the transition period, which both sides have now agreed will run from the day the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 to 31 December 2020. On this basis, ‘Free movement’ into the UK will continue until at least 1 January 2021.

In addition to this, on 28 August 2018, the government passed into the law the legal basis upon which EEA nationals will be able to apply for ‘Settled’ and ‘Pre-Settled Status’ (the full legislation can be found here).

Summary – what should I/can I do right now?

  • Once the UK leaves the European Union on 29 March 2019, EU citizens and their family will be able to get either settled or pre-settled status, meaning you can continue to live in the UK after December 2020. The EU Settlement Scheme will be open fully by March 2019. Further information on this can be found on the government website.
  • EU/EEA nationals who are currently holding either Indefinite Leave to Remain (commonly issued before April 2006) or a Permanent Residence card will be able to ‘swap’ these for Settled Status, via an application, at no additional charge, subject to criminal and security checks. They will have until 31 July 2021 to do so.
  • Where desired, it is still possible to apply for Permanent Residency. Please read more on this here.
  • For those wishing to apply for British Citizenship in the coming 12 months, and if eligible for a Permanent Residence Card, we would advise that you should apply for Permanent Residency now and should not wait for ‘Settled Status’ (once you gain ‘Settled Status’ you cannot apply for Citizenship for at least one year).
  • Where Permanent Residency cannot presently be gained (e.g. not resident for five years, or where a student but not holding medical insurance etc.), you will need to wait to apply for ‘Settled Status’ or ‘Pre-Settled Status’ once the application process opens. 

Q. How does the referendum result affect EU students accessing student loans?

A statement from Sam Gyimah, Universities and Science Minister, confirms that current students, including those that will start courses in the 2018 – 19 academic year or before, and are eligible to receive loans and/or grants from Student Finance England, will continue to remain eligible for these loans and grants until they finish their course.

EU nationals starting courses in England in the 2019 – 20 academic year will also remain eligible for financial support from Student Finance England for the duration of their course, providing they meet the existing residency requirement.

For further information, please read the full announcement here.

The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, has also confirmed that students from the EU starting courses in the 2019 - 20 academic year will continue to be eligible for 'home fee status', meaning they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students. They will also be able to access financial support for the duration of their course on the same basis as is available today. Read the full announcement here.

Q. How does the Referendum result affect funding for EU postgraduate students?

A statement from Sam Gyimah, Universities and Science Minister, confirms that current students, including those that will start courses in the 2018 – 19 academic year or before, and are eligible to receive loans and/or grants from Student Finance England, will continue to remain eligible for these loans and grants until they finish their course.

EU nationals starting courses in England in the 2019 – 20 academic year will also remain eligible for financial support from Student Finance England for the duration of their course, providing they meet the existing residency requirement.

For further information, please read the full announcement here.

Q. Are there any changes to the immigration status of EU/EEA nationals currently working in or studying at Cambridge?

Currently there is no change to the immigration status of EU nationals working or studying in Cambridge.

The Compliance Team in HR are happy to advise staff and students on all matters to do with residency, immigration and visas. Contact details for this team, and more information about their work, can be found here: https://www.hr.admin.cam.ac.uk/hr-services/immigration

Q. Will the UK continue to participate in the Erasmus programme?

The joint report on progress during phase 1 of negotiations, issued in December 2017, states that following withdrawal from the Union, the UK will continue to participate in Union programmes financed by the Multiannual Financial Framework 2014 - 202. This includes the Erasmus programme.

In July 2018, the UK government extended the underwrite guarantee for certain EU programmes, including Erasmus, covering funding applied for after the UK's exit until the end of 2020, provided that the terms under which UK organisations could be eligible for post-exit participation are agreed. 

In August 2018, the government published a technical notice on UK participation in the Erasmus programme in the 'no deal' scenario. This outlines the government's plans to seek agreement for the UK to continue participating in Erasmus. 

The future participation in Erasmus will be decided as part of the future partnership negotiations.

Detailed information is outlined on the UK National Agency's website.

Q. How will the UK leaving the EU affect the fees paid by EU students?

The UK government confirmed on 2 July 2018 that EU students applying for university places in the 2019 – 20 year will remain eligible for ‘home fee status’, meaning they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students. The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, also confirmed that the maximum tuition fees that a university will be able to charge will be frozen for the second year running.

This comes after the government confirmed students starting their courses in the academic year 2018 – 19 will remain eligible for financial support, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU. Please see here for further information.

Q. What will happen to my research proposal, which is currently under consideration?

The UK government has committed to underwrite all Horizon 2020 awards which are submitted (and subsequently awarded) until the date the UK leaves the EU.

Q. I am currently funded by a Horizon 2020 grant. What will happen to my funding?

The UK government has committed to underwrite all Horizon 2020 awards which are submitted (and subsequently awarded) until the date the UK leaves the EU. In case of a no-deal Brexit and if the government underwriting is needed, the Research Office will liaise with UKRI to awards are transitioned into a UK scheme and funds are received in accordance with guidance provided at the time.

Q. Will there be any changes to the Cambridge scholarships available to EU and other international applicants?

The UK government has confirmed that EU students starting courses in England in the academic year 2019 – 20 will continue to be eligible for Home fee status. They will also be able to access financial support for the duration of their courses on the same basis as it is currently available.

Please see the Cambridge Trusts Scholarships page for further information.

Q. I’m a non-EEA national. Is there any impact on me?

The referendum has no effect upon the UK immigration system and there are no foreseeable changes to the mechanism by which non-EEA nationals can visit, study, work, or settle in the UK.

Q. What options do my dependants have?

Direct family members of EEA nationals have an automatic right of residence in the UK for as long as they remain the family member of that EEA national. The following are considered to be direct family members:

  • spouse or civil partner

  • dependants of the EEA national or their spouse/civil partner who are under the age of 21

Your dependants are not required to register for any documentation in order to evidence their free movement rights in the UK, however if they wish to work in the UK they would have to apply for an EEA Residence Card

If you are intending on applying for a Permanent Residence Card, your dependants are also eligible to apply at the same time provided they meet the following conditions:

  • they've lived with you in the UK for a continuous 5-year period; and
  • you have been a 'qualified person' throughout the same 5-year period.

Please see the guidance below regarding how to apply for a Permanent Residence Card.

Q. How do I apply for a Permanent Residence Card?

You can apply for a permanent residence card if you’ve lived in the UK for five years. You can read about eligibility and the application process on the government website. The residence card will not be valid after 31 December 2020 and before that time would need to be changed for settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

The EU Settlement Scheme will be open fully by March 2019. EU citizens and their families currently living in the UK, and arriving prior to 31 December 2020, will be able to apply for settled and pre-settled status, depending on their circumstances. The scheme will enable EU citizens to continue living in the UK as currently. The deadline for applying is 30 June 2021. Further information on this can be found on the government website

Q. When/how can I apply for UK Citizenship?

There are different ways to apply for British citizenship based on your circumstances. You can look into eligibility and further information about applying for citizenship on these government webpages

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

The University’s International Student Office provides advice 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.

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 H2020@admin.cam.ac.uk using the email title 'Brexit query'.

For more complex cases, at this stage we would recommend that you seek independent legal advice.

Q. What impact will a no-deal Brexit have on research funding?

UK institutions remain fully eligible to apply for EU funding until the day the UK departs from the EU. After the UK’s departure from the EU, eligibility to apply for EU funding will be dependent on the wider agreement between the UK and EU. In case of a no-deal Brexit, the UK will be considered a third country and eligibility to apply for EU funds will be dependent on the legal framework in place at the time. The Research Office will monitor developments closely and will update researchers and departments as soon as further clarification is provided.

Q. What impact will a no-deal Brexit have on immigration?

In the event of a no-deal, there is no anticipated possibility of a 'cliff edge' regarding the rights of EU/EEA and Swiss citizens in the UK, either for those already present in the UK, or those arriving after 29 March 2019. This is due to the effective continuation of 'free movement' by way of the EU Withdrawal Act 2018 (which has subsumed EU 'free movement' law into UK law). This will remain the case until the government legislates for a new immigration system.

These rights will exist 'invisibly', and there will be safeguards in place to prevent the government from altering these (the creation of an independent body to oversee the government's governance of free movement rights being the most pertinent).

In parallel with this, on 28 August, the government introduced the concept of settled and pre-settled status into UK law by way of the Immigration Rules. This status will give EU nationals (and shortly, EEA and Swiss nationals) the ability to apply for indefinite leave to remain or limited leave to remain, depending on their circumstances. It is the government's ambition to document all EU nationals who are present in the UK through the introduction of settled and pre-settled status. It is anticipated that the public rollout of the application process to gain these statuses will commence no later than March 2019.

In recognition of the challenge this will present to the Home Office, the application system is being rolled out in phases. From 15 November, the next pilot phase will open, which will allow all EU staff working at a UK HEI to access the scheme and make an application for settled or pre-settled status in advance of the public rollout.

There are some limitations as to who can access this phase. Full details can be found here

Note: There is no obligation or requirement to access the pilot scheme once it goes live on 15 November, and all EU nationals in the UK will have until 31 December 2020 to gain either settled or pre-settled status. There is also no requirement to gain these statuses before the UK formally exits the EU on 29 March 2019.

With the introduction of this pilot, we are pleased to offer a series of presentations which will provide information on current residency rights, and a detailed overview of the settled and pre-settled status application process. These presentations give you the opportunity to see the application process first-hand and to give you the information you need to make an application, if you wish, in advance of the full rollout next year. Details of these presentations can be found here.

The date the EU Settlement Scheme will be open to students has not yet been announced.

Q. What impact will a no-deal Brexit have on fees?

The UK government confirmed on 2 July 208 that EU students applying for university places in the 2019 – 20 year will remain eligible for ‘home fee status’, meaning they will be charged the same tuition fees as UK students. The Education Secretary, Damian Hinds, also confirmed that the maximum tuitions fees that a university will be able to charge will be frozen for the second year running.

This comes after the government confirmed students starting their courses in the academic year 2018 – 19 will remain eligible for financial support, even if the course concludes after the UK’s exit from the EU. Please see here for further information.