Brexit: information and updates for staff
We continue to work with the Russell Group, Universities UK and others to address the challenges posed by Brexit. This includes lobbying Whitehall on the most pressing concerns for our staff and students, including around mobility, fees, travel arrangements and access to research funding.
12 January 2021
What does the UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement mean for us?
The UK government has reached an agreement with the European Union on a future relationship which took effect from 1 January 2021. The wide-reaching agreement has several implications for us. Here is an initial summary of what has been agreed. Please see our guidance notes on key topics for further information.
It is important to note that, while the overarching ‘deal’ does reduce the likelihood of disruption we might have otherwise faced in a ‘no deal’ scenario, some uncertainties remain. We will reflect any future changes in our topic guidance notes and alert you to these developments through the weekly Staff Bulletin.
Research collaboration: Horizon Europe
The UK will participate in the Horizon Europe programme as an associated country (albeit, please note, this is subject to a final agreement once the relevant EU legal texts have been finalised).
This means that we will be able to participate in all parts of Horizon Europe, including:
• Joint Research Centre (JRC) activities, article 185 and 187 partnerships;
• European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT);
• European Research Infrastructures Consortium (ERICs); and
• European Research Area Committee.
There was also agreement on UK participation in the Euratom Research and Training programme for 2021–25, which covers the ITER fusion partnership, as well as the Copernicus Earth observation programme.
Student mobility: Erasmus+ and the Turing scheme
The UK government decided not to seek participation in the new Erasmus+ programme. This means that we will not be able to participate after the current programme ends in July 2022. All existing funding that was already granted to UK universities under the previous Erasmus+ scheme is unaffected.
The UK government will instead launch the Turing scheme, providing £100 million in funding for 35,000 students in universities, colleges and schools to go on placements abroad from September 2021.
While we await further details on the scale and scope of the new programme, it is already evident that it will:
• be global in nature (not Europe-specific);
• target students from disadvantaged backgrounds; and
• will not provide any funding to facilitate inbound student mobility.
Student mobility is an important element of our internationalisation strategy. We will aim to publish our approach to enabling student mobility post Erasmus by May 2021. The scale of future opportunity we can provide our students will be contingent on the level of additional investment we can afford to make at the present time.
Recruiting EU staff & Immigration
Separately to the Brexit agreement, the UK’s new points-based immigration system came into effect from 1 January 2021. This new set of rules applies to EU/EEA citizens coming to the UK, as freedom of movement for these citizens has now ended. As per the Withdrawal Agreement, EU citizens who arrived in the UK prior to 31 December 2020 still have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
Data protection and data transfers
A four-month data adequacy bridge has been agreed, with the potential to extend this to six months. This means, for a maximum of six months from 1 January 2021, personal data can continue to flow between the UK and EU (as well as the EEA) as it did before. During this time, it is expected that the UK and EU will agree a longer-term adequacy agreement.
Purchasing goods from the EU and exports to the EU
There will be no additional tariffs on purchases. However, there are new customs regulations that have to be complied with which may delay the receipt of goods from the EU and may have an impact on cost.
We also need to comply with customs regulations, including the completion of necessary documentation, if we send anything to the EU. This would include samples or equipment for repair, for example.
The existing procurement regulations (including financial thresholds) remain largely unchanged, except that new tenders are now advertised in the UK Find A Tender service, rather than the EU’s Official Journal.
The UK and EU have agreed visa-free travel for tourist visits of up to 90 days within a 180-day period. However, there are additional actions which might be required if travelling to the EU for work or study, even for a short period of time. For instance, a visa, work permit or other documentation might be required. Further information can be found on gov.uk.
These new rules do not apply to travel to Ireland, and British and Irish citizens can continue to move freely between the UK and Ireland as part of the Common Travel Area arrangements.
UK nationals with a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) can continue to use them in the EU until they expire. However, these EHICs can no longer be used in Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein.
EHICs will be replaced by a free UK Global Health Insurance Card (GHIC). This card covers some medical care but is not a replacement for travel insurance.
Mutual recognition of professional qualifications (MRPQ)
The mutual recognition of professional qualifications between the UK and EU has now ended. Instead, the UK and EU have agreed a framework by which professional bodies in the UK and in EU countries can work to agree a certain level of bilateral recognition in the future.
Those persons that previously have had their professional qualifications recognised, or who have applied for a recognition decision before the end of the implementation period (meaning that the application was submitted by 31 December 2020), are unaffected.
For any further queries, you can contact us at email@example.com and we will direct your enquiry to the relevant team to respond to you.
Information and advice
Our Brexit Planning Group, chaired by Robert Kerse (Chief Operating Officer) will continue to monitor Brexit developments during the transition period (currently due to end on 31 December 2020). We will also continue to lobby the Government through Universities UK (UUK) on the issues that matter most to our university during 2020, to influence the negotiations and final deal.
Latest Bristol updates and briefings
For the latest information, please see our Brexit Updates and Topic Briefings.
You can find advice on travel, insurance, procurement, research and links to useful resources.
Status of EU citizens in the UK
What you need to know: the government's advice and information page, regularly updated.
Universities UK (UUK) Brexit FAQs and Guidance
Find out about the research that Bristol's academics are conducting on the many aspects and possible implications of Brexit.
Preparing for Brexit
How has the University prepared for Brexit?
Since 2018, our Brexit Planning Group has been focused on ensuring that we are as prepared as possible for Brexit and the transition period through to 31 December 2020. We will then make sure we adapt to any necessary changes for January 2021 and beyond when the final details of the Withdrawal Agreement are known.
Our preparations have included analysis of the Government’s Technical Notices Brexit, assessing advice from Universities UK, planning with Bristol City Council and our own contingency planning. Key areas that the group have focussed on include:
- Visa and Immigration Policy for Staff and Students
- Ensuring continuity of services and supplies
- Research and research funding
- Student and staff mobility
- Student fees and funding
- Legal and regulatory matters
How is the University influencing government?
We are continuing to work with the Russell Group, Universities UK (UUK), Bristol City Council, local MPs and others to address the challenges posed by Brexit. This includes seeking clarification and lobbying Whitehall on the most pressing concerns for our staff and students, including around mobility, fees, travel arrangements and access to research funding.
Rights to continue living and working in the UK
How will Brexit affect my immigration status?
EU, EEA and Swiss nationals living in the UK by 31st December 2020 will need to apply for settled or pre-settled Status under the EU settlement scheme to continue living in the UK after 30th June 2021. You will still need to apply for settled or pre-settled status even if you have a registration certificate or permanent residence document.
If you have not been resident in the UK for five years you are able to apply for pre-settled status. Once you reach five qualifying years, you can then apply to update your visa to settled status. The EU settlement scheme opened on 30 March 2019 and is free for all applicants.
New immigration routes opened on 1st December 2020 for applications to live, work and study in the UK from 1st January 2021. This will apply to all foreign nationals including EU, EEA and Swiss citzens. For further details please follow this link.
How do I apply to the EU Settlement Scheme
The EU Settlement Scheme is fully open, and we encourage staff and students to apply now.
Do I need a letter confirming my employment if I want to travel?
There will be no requirement to show any documentation other than your passport when entering the UK if you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national.
How do I apply for British citizenship?
For general advice from the University about British Citizenship, please email Rachel Coggins or Clare Stephens our International Staff Advisers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information for our German colleagues
German citizens may be aware that they are permitted to obtain citizenship of an EU country and retain their German citizenship. As the UK has now left the EU it is no longer an EU country.
The 'Brexit transition act' which was approved by the German cabinet on 5 September 2019 includes a provision to help Germans applying for British citizenship, and UK nationals applying for German citizenship. This provision states that Germans who have applied for British citizenship, and vice versa, before the end of the transition period on 31 December 2020 will be allowed to retain their own citizenship, even if their application is decided after the end of the transition period.
Information on the 'Brexit transition act' is available in German but the English version, which was previously available, appears to have been removed at this time.
What support is available to non-EEA/EU dependents of EEA/EU staff?
The EU Settlement Scheme is open to all EEA citizens (and their dependents) resident in the UK. Those looking for support for their family members should email Rachel Coggins or Clare Stephens our International Staff Advisers at email@example.com.
Help and advice
What support services are available for employees?
We understand that the uncertainty surrounding Brexit can be a cause for worry and concern. Employees can access personal support from the University’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), Care First, on a confidential basis.
For practical queries or emotional support, including issues linked to Brexit, please call 0800 015 5630 to speak to one of the Care First Information Specialists or Counsellors. Support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days a year for staff.
Is there support for PhD students?
Support for PhD students is available from our mental health and wellbeing services.
What support can I give to my students / direct reports?
Given the complexity of Brexit anfd changing timeframes, it can be difficult to know where to direct students and colleagues for the most up to date information.
What should I do if I see or experience racism or harassment linked to the EU referendum result?
We do not tolerate racism, xenophobia or harassment in the work place or in study.
All members of our staff and student community are responsible for ensuring that they behave in an appropriate manner, showing respect for colleagues, students and others working alongside or engaged with our University community.
All staff are encouraged to appropriately challenge inappropriate behaviours and raise concerns with managers so these can be dealt with.
- Further support: What to do if you're worried about racism following the EU referendum (PDF):
- Useful information is available from the Equality and Human Rights Commission
Frequently asked questions about the EU Settlement Scheme
Please see here for an external resource with answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.
Understanding your right to work in the UK
The Home Office has developed a right to work leaflet to clarify requirements to EEA employees during the grace period.