Queen Mary and Brexit

Information about the Brexit process for staff

Updates from the Principal to all staff regarding the EU referendum and Brexit can be found on the Principal’s webpage (Queen Mary login required).

The government has confirmed that there will be no change to the rights and status of EU nationals living in the UK while the UK remains in the EU. They have also confirmed that they have reached an agreement with the EU that safeguards the rights of EU citizens and their families once the UK leaves the EU.

A summary of the EU Settlement Scheme can be found below. You can find full information on the EU citizens' rights website.

Right to Work training sessions 

HR is be running regular Right to Work training sessions for staff across our campuses. These training sessions are for all those who manage and administer immigration and right to work procedures in departments and schools across Queen Mary. 

Book your place via the course booking system (course code PD218). For more details, contact Paul Byrne at p.byrne@qmul.ac.uk.  

Got a question? Please contact your HR Partner. 

 

Researchers

The UK remains eligible to apply for EU funding, such as the EC research funding programme, Horizon 2020 (H2020), until the UK exits the European Union. Exit date is extended to 31 January 2020, with the possibility to leave sooner if the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by Parliament.

If a deal is agreed before exit date:

  • There would be a transition period for the H2020 programme. Thus, the UK would be able to participate fully in all remaining H2020 calls to the end of the H2020 programme in December 2020. 
  • H2020 guarantee will underwrite funding for all live, eligible H2020 projects, and successfully evaluated UK bids for H2020 funding for their full duration.

If there is no deal, and no further extensions are agreed, the government has 3 underwrites:

  • H2020 extension guarantee will cover successful UK bids to H2020 calls open to third country participants submitted from date of exit to calls to the end of the programme. UK projects funded for the full duration.
  • ‘In flight’ applications funding for mono-beneficiary calls under the European Research Council, Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions and EIC Accelerator if such UK bids submitted to the EC before exit date (irrespective of the EC deadline date). If relevant bids are not EC evaluated, they will be independently assessed by UKRI. Successful projects would be funded by UK government funding for their full duration.

We continue to support new EU funding bids. For queries, please contact Vicky Byers at v.byers@qmul.ac.uk

For more information, read our latest briefing paper: Brexit and UK participation in EU research funding briefing paper 28 October 2019 [PDF 698KB]

Clinical trials and research regulations

Queen Mary Joint Research Management Office (JRMO) together with relevant research teams have put into place contingency plans to ensure continuation of its clinical trials within Europe in the event of the UK leaving without a deal. Data, sample investigational medical products and legal representation have all been considered and addressed. 

The JRMO has completed the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) contingency deep dive surveys and all subsequent guidance. 

Although the fundamental laws surrounding clinical trials in the UK have not changed, some changes were needed to allow for the continued sale of, and access to medicines, medical devices and clinical trials. Three separate pieces of legislation have been put into place, all of which come into force on exit day. 

The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) continues to update their website with guidance to keep the clinical trials community informed in the event of the UK leaving without a deal. 

Any questions or queries regarding Queen Mary-sponsored clinical trials should be sent to: Marie-Claire Good, JRMO m.good@qmul.ac.uk

I am an EU national. Should I be concerned about the impact of Brexit on my right to remain in the UK?

 

EU nationals and their family members who are resident in the UK before the date the UK leaves the EU (expected to by 31 January 2020) should be protected. Your residence rights should not change, whether there is a ‘deal’ or ‘no-deal’ Brexit.  Further details are contained in a Factsheet recently published by the Government. 

 

What are the key points about the Settlement Scheme?

EU nationals and their family members who are residing in the UK will need to make an application under the Settlement Scheme in order to continue to reside lawfully in the UK after 31 December 2020.  Full details of the Scheme are set out in the Caseworker Guidance.  The key points are as follows:

  • EU nationals and their family members (spouse, civil partner, durable partner, dependent child or grandchild, and dependent parent or grandparent) who by 31 December 2020 have been continuously resident in the UK for five years will be eligible to apply for settled status, enabling them to stay indefinitely.
  • EU nationals and the family members who arrive in the UK by 31 December 2020, but who will not have been continuously resident for five years, will be eligible for pre-settled status, enabling them to remain in the UK until they reach the five year threshold. They can then apply for settled status where they have remained continuously resident in the UK for a five-year period.

Who is required to apply under the Settlement Scheme?

All EU nationals need to apply in order to continue to reside lawfully in the UK, subject to limited exceptions:

  • Irish nationals are not required to apply, but can do so if they wish.
  • EU nationals who have indefinite leave to remain (ILR) or indefinite leave to enter (ILE) (which is not the same as permanent residence) are not required to apply, but can do so if they wish. It is sensible to do so due to the more favourable rights that apply under the Settlement Scheme.

EU national family members of British nationals also need to apply under the Settlement Scheme – ie, there is no exemption by virtue of being, for example, the spouse or partner of a British national.

Do I need to apply under the Settlement Scheme if I have permanent residence documents?

 

Yes. But individuals with permanent residence documents are effectively able to ‘convert’ their permanent residence status to the new settled status, subject only to verification of identity, a criminality and security check, and proof of ongoing residence.

 

How can Settlement Scheme applications be made?

Applications are made online and using an app.  Applications can usually be completed in around 15 minutes.  The default position is to grant applications, rather than to look for reasons to refuse.  Applicants are afforded an opportunity to provide supplementary evidence or remedy any deficiencies in the evidence provided where it appears that a simple omission has occurred.  More than one million applications have now been processed.  The Government have published a how to guide for making an application to the scheme.

What are the eligibility criteria under the Settlement Scheme?

The eligibility criteria are straightforward.  Applicants are required to meet three core criteria:

  • Identity – you verify your identity by scanning your biometric passport, biometric national identity card or biometric residence card using the EU Exit: ID Document Check app (available on both Android 6 (or later) smartphones and Apple iPhones). Alternatively, you can send your identity document to the Home Office by post.  You will also need to verify your identity by uploading a photo of yourself.
  • Proof of residence – you prove your residence in the UK by providing your National Insurance number, if you have one. HMRC checks will then be conducted and payment of tax and national insurance will be taken as proof of evidence of residence in the UK.  Other documentation may be used, or required, to show proof of residence for periods where you have not been in work and paying tax and national insurance (eg, bank statements, utility bills, mortgage statements, or proof of study).
  • Criminality check – you complete the criminality check by declaring any criminal convictions. Only serious or persistent criminality should affect application.

 

But what about comprehensive sickness insurance, travel logs and qualifying activities?

There is no requirement to have private medical insurance to qualify under the Settlement Scheme.  EU nationals do not need to account for every absence from the UK (ie, a travel log is not be required) and there is no requirement to establish English language competency.  Furthermore, there is no requirement for EU nationals to have been undertaking qualifying activities during the five year period – eg, being in employment, or being a student. 

Is there an application fee for the Settlement Scheme?

 

The Settlement Scheme is free of charge.

 

 

What are the rules for continuous residence in order to qualify for settled status?

A person must have been continuously resident in the UK for five years in order to be eligible to apply for settled status.  In general, a person will have been continuously resident if they have not been absent from the UK for more than six months in total in any 12 month period.  There is no restriction on the number of absences permitted, provided that the total period of absence does not exceed six months in any 12 month period.  Limited exceptions apply and these are set out in the Caseworker Guidance

What rights do EU nationals with settled status have?

Settled status will enable EU nationals to reside in the UK in any capacity and undertake any lawful activity.  They will continue to have access to UK benefits (eg, healthcare, benefits, pension and social security) in a similar manner to British nationals. 

How long does it take for Settlement Scheme applications to be processed?

Most applications are dealt with on the day they are lodged.  In some cases it can take slightly longer, but usually no more than four calendar days.  The current average processing times are published on the Government website.

Is there a deadline by which applications must be lodged under the Settlement Scheme?

 

Yes. The deadline for applications will 31 December 2020 in a ‘no-deal’ scenario. It is expected to be 30 June 2021 in a ‘deal’ scenario.  The Government has confirmed that even in a ‘no-deal’ scenario you do not need to apply before the UK leaves the EU. 

 

Can settled status be lost?

 

Settled status will be lost if a person spends more the five continuous years outside the UK. But it should be possible to ‘re-set’ the clock for the five years by returning to the UK for a short period of time. 

 

What will happen to EU nationals resident in the UK on or before the UK exits the EU in a ‘no-deal’ scenario?

The Government has confirmed that the Settlement Scheme will run for EU nationals who are resident in the UK by the date the UK leaves the EU.  So your rights should be unaffected.  The key differences compared with the terms contained in the draft Withdrawal Agreement are as follows:

  • The Settlement Scheme will be run for EU nationals and their family members who are resident in the UK by the date the UK leaves the EU.
  • There will be no implementation period, meaning the Settlement Scheme will not apply to EU nationals who are not resident in the UK before the UK leaves the EU.
  • The deadline for applications will be 31 December 2020, rather than 30 June 2021.
  • Family reunion rights will be more limited.
    • EU nationals with settled status would be able to be joined in the UK in the period up to 29 March 2022 by existing close family members such as children, spouses and partners, provided the relationship existed by the exit date and continued to exist when the family member applied.
    • After 29 March 2022, such family members will be able to join EU nationals in the UK by applying under the relevant UK Immigration Rules, the details of which are currently unknown.

Will it be a problem if I am away from the UK travelling over the exit date?

 

No. EU nationals who are resident in the UK but who are abroad on business or holiday or living overseas temporarily on the exit date will still be protected. The Government has confirmed that EU nationals will not need a visa to re-enter the UK from after the exit date. 

 

Will EU nationals living in the UK and covered by the Settlement Scheme be able to have family members join them on a long-term basis in the UK at a later date?

Yes, but the details will depend on whether there is a ‘deal’ or ‘no-deal’ Brexit. 

‘Deal’ scenario - if the terms contained in the draft Withdrawal Agreement are implemented, the position will be as follows: 

  • EU nationals who are resident in the UK before 31 December 2020 will have a lifetime right for family members who were family members on 31 December 2020 to join them in the UK.
  • There is also provision for the children of EU nationals born inside or outside the UK after the specified date to join the EU national in the UK, subject to detailed requirements.

‘No-deal’ scenario – in a ‘no-deal’ scenario, family reunion rights will be more limited:

  • EU nationals with settled status would be able to be joined in the UK in the period up to 29 March 2022 by existing close family members such as children, spouses and partners, provided the relationship existed by 29 March 2019 and continued to exist when the family member applied.
  • After 29 March 2022, such family members will be able to join EU nationals in the UK by applying under the applicable UK Immigration Rules, the details of which are currently unknown.

Will family members be able to visit EU nationals in the UK on a short-term basis in a ‘no deal’ scenario?

 

Yes. EU nationals will continue to be able to enter the UK without a visa in the period up to 31 December 2020. We do not have details of the immigration rules from 1 January 2021, but it is likely there will be a route enabling EU nationals to enter the UK for short-term visits (eg, to see family, holiday, attend meetings and job interviews).

 

Where can I find out further information about the EU Settlement Scheme?

Further information is available as follows:

  • Detailed guidance is available in the Caseworker Guidance.
  • A bespoke Guidance Page has been published for the EU Settlement Scheme.
  • An Employer Toolkit has been published containing practical guidance on the Settlement Scheme in various brief documents.
  • The Government has published a White Paper containing proposals for a new immigration system to take effect from 1 January 2021.
  • Periodic updates are also posted on the GOV.UK website and it is possible to sign up for email alerts.

What will be the position for EU nationals who move to the UK for the first time after a ‘no-deal’ exit?

The European Temporary Leave to Remain (Euro TLR) scheme was recently announced by the Government.  EU nationals will continue to be able to enter the UK freely to live and work from the date the UK leaves the EU until 31 December 2020.  No documentation will be required to do so.  However, a person who moves to the UK after a no-deal exit and wishes to remain resident beyond 31 December 2020 will need to apply to the Euro TLR scheme.  The application deadline will be 31 December 2020.  Further details can be found here.

What type of status is European Temporary Leave to Remain?

Euro TLR is a temporary status in the UK.  It will grant the holder permission to remain in the UK for 36 months. At the end of this period, holders of Euro TLR will need to apply for further permission to remain in the UK under the new immigration system (expected to be implemented from January 2021).  The Government has indicated that time spent in the UK with Euro TLR status will count towards residency requirements for future indefinite leave to remain / settlement applications.

How will European Temporary Leave to Remain applications be made?

The current proposals are that Euro TLR applications will be made online using simple ID checks.  It is anticipated that the application process will be very similar to that of the Settlement Scheme with no application fee being payable.  Further details are due to be published in due course. 

What will be the impact on travel arrangements in a ‘deal’ scenario?

In a ‘deal’ scenario, there is expected to be no change to travel requirements for EU nationals entering the UK and British nationals entering the EU until at least 1 January 2021. 

What will be the impact on travel arrangements in a ‘no-deal’ scenario?

In a ‘no-deal’ scenario the situation for EU nationals travelling to the UK will remain largely unchanged until 1 January 2021.  There will be no requirement to obtain a visa for travel to the UK for the period up to 31 December 2020.  The Government has indicated security checks will continue in the same way and EU nationals are still able to travel on either their passport of national ID card (though the use of EEA ID cards as an acceptable travel document will be phased out through 2020).

What about British nationals travelling to Europe after Brexit in a ‘no deal’ scenario?

The European Council has confirmed that, in the event of ‘no-deal’, it will allow visa-free travel to all EU/EEA and Swiss countries, including those not in the Schengen zone, for a period of up to 90 days (across any 180 day period).  This will remain the case provided the UK reciprocates on the same basis.  There will be no restrictions on stay during that 90 day period.  British nationals should ensure that they have more than six months remaining on their passport and that the passport is not more than 10 years old.  Further details on travel arrangement can be found here.

I am an EU national working for the University but I live in another EU country. I regularly travel to the UK to work. What should I do?

There should be no change to your ability to enter the UK and work until 1 January 2021.  You will not require a visa to enter the UK to work.  The Government has announced that from 1 January 2021 it will be implementing a ‘frontier worker permit’ to enable you to continue to enter the UK to live and work.  You may also be eligible to apply under the Settlement Scheme, but depending on your level of absences from the UK you may qualify only for pre-settled status.  Details in relation to frontier workers can be found here.

Will there be any changes to driving in the EU post-Brexit

The Government has provided advice on how to prepare to drive in the EU after Brexit, including information on Green Cards which can be obtained from your insurance provider.  A Green Card is evidence of motor insurance cover when driving abroad. Currently, you do not need a motor insurance Green Card to drive a UK registered vehicle in the EU, EEA, Andorra, Serbia and Switzerland.  Following the UK’s exit from the EU, if there is no EU exit deal and the European Commission does not make a decision ensuring that UK registered vehicles will not be checked for proof of insurance, drivers of UK registered vehicles will need to carry a motor insurance Green Card when driving in the EU and EEA.

What rules will apply to EU nationals who intend to come into the UK for the first time from 1 January 2021?

In December 2018, the Government published a White Paper containing proposals for a new immigration system.  It confirmed that freedom of movement will end and there will be a new skills based immigration system which will apply to EU and non-EU nationals alike with effect from 1 January 2021.  There will also be provision for EU nationals to visit the UK on a short-term basis (eg, to visit family, holiday, attend meetings and interviews etc) without having to obtain a visa in advance and the intention is to continue to facilitate the use of e-gates for entry to the UK in these circumstances.  Further details are expected to be published in due course. 

Can EU nationals apply for British citizenship?

EU nationals may be eligible to apply to naturalise as British citizen (ie, to become a British citizen), but this will not be necessary to continue living and working in the UK after Brexit.  Further guidance can be found here.

What are the main routes to naturalisation as a British citizen for an EEA national?

Different requirements apply depending on whether the applicant is married to, or the civil partner, of a British national:

  • EU nationals who are married to, or the civil partner of, a British national and have been in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years may be eligible to apply for naturalisation.
  • EU nationals who are not married to, or the civil partner of, a British national and have been in the UK for a continuous period of 6 years may be eligible to apply for naturalisation.

EU nationals who are not married to, or the civil partner of, a British national must be free of immigration restrictions for 12 months before they can apply for citizenship.  In practice, this means that such individuals cannot apply for citizenship until 12 months have elapsed since the date they acquired permanent residence / settled status.

EU nationals who are married to, or the civil partner of, a British national can apply for citizenship once they have acquired permanent residence / settled status (ie, the requirement to be free of immigration control for 12 months does not apply).

What other requirements apply for applications to naturalise as a British citizen?

The other key requirements relate to residence, future intentions (where the applicant does not have a British national spouse or civil partner), good character, knowledge of the English language, and knowledge of life in the UK (applicants must pass a multiple choice exam). 

The residence requirements are quite restrictive. These requirements vary, depending on whether the applicant has a British national spouse or civil partner.  As a general rule, applicants who do not have as British national spouse or civil partner should have spent no more than 450 days outside the UK in the preceding five year period.  During the last 12 months of the five year period the applicant should have spent no more than 90 days outside the UK.  But higher rates of absence are permissible in certain circumstances.  It should be noted that these continuity requirements are more onerous than for permanent residence.

What are the potential drawbacks to becoming a British national?

Very careful consideration should be given by an EU national as to whether naturalisation is an appropriate course of action.  An EU national’s home country may not allow dual nationality, meaning that acquiring British citizenship may result in renouncing original nationality, possibly permanently.  An EU national should consider obtaining advice in their home jurisdiction.

Can British citizenship be lost?

In general, British citizenship cannot be lost unless the person renounces it, or is deprived of it because this is considered conducive to the public good, or there is evidence that the citizenship was obtained by fraud or deception.

What is the status of the children of EU nationals?

Children of EU nationals who have resided legally with the EU national in the UK will be eligible to make and application under the Settlement Scheme. 

The law relating to the acquisition of British citizenship is complicated.  It is often advisable to obtain individual advice.  Further guidance can be found in Guide MN1

As a general rule the position can be summarised as follows:

  • Children born in the UK to an EEA national parent who on the date of the birth had indefinite leave to remain, or had been exercising treaty rights continuously for a period of five years, will automatically be British.
  • Children born in the UK who were not automatically British when they were born (because neither parent was a British citizen, or settled in the UK) are entitled to register as British citizens when minors if either parent becomes a British citizen, or becomes settled in the UK. Settled status in the UK for these purposes includes the acquisition of permanent residence or settled status.
  • A child who has lived in the UK for the first 10 years of their life may be able to register as British, even if neither of their parents is settled. Absence requirements apply.
  • Children born abroad to parents who are now applying or British citizenship may be eligible to apply to be registered as British when their parent(s) are apply for British citizenship. However, such an application will usually succeed only if both parents are granted British citizenship, or one parent is granted British citizenship and the other parent is settled.

Applying to register a child as British is different from the application to naturalise as a British citizen as an adult.  However, naturalisation and registration applications can often be made at the same time. 

Erasmus+ Student and Staff Mobility

Should the UK leave the EU without a deal only, it is now more likely that Queen Mary will have access to funding for student and staff mobilities.

The Erasmus+ National Agency (British Council), usually approves Erasmus+ funding application in June and Queen Mary receives the funding around August. Should the UK leave the EU after this has happened, the European Commission Contingency Regulation will come into effect on the exit date, guaranteeing that participants on mobilities will be able to complete their mobilities in full and uninterrupted. It is expected that the UK government underwrite guarantee will still apply to fund mobilities due to start after the exit date. Confirmation of this from the Department for Education is expected. In this instance, exchanges would continue as normal, and students or staff would not need to do anything.

There remains a risk of the UK leaving the EU with no deal. If this is the case, funding arrangements will most likely not be in place for the 2019/2020 academic year.

We are working closely with our current Erasmus+ and Swiss Mobility partner universities across Europe to ensure that back-up exchange agreements are in place, should the UK leave the EU without a deal.

Questions can be directed to Wiebke Leugers, Erasmus+ Manager (w.leugers@qmul.ac.uk).

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