BREXIT information

We are here to help

Ever since the EU referendum result was announced, the University has been clear that European staff are greatly valued members of the Oxford community. It is committed to ensuring that all European colleagues keep the rights and freedoms they currently enjoy.

The Staff Immigration Team (SIT) are here to assist anyone within the collegiate University with queries about their own status as a European and that of their family members, or the status of European staff, and the applications they may wish to make.

While a final agreement has not yet been reached between the EU and the UK there is now more information available about the new Settlement Scheme (due to be launched in 2019) and a pilot of this Scheme running in November/ December 2018.

If you wish to discuss your status or have questions about the EU Settlement Scheme or Permanent Residence applications, please contact either: james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk or tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk in the Staff Immigration team.

Rights of European nationals in the UK

The UK government is negotiating the terms of ‘Brexit’ with the EU but even in the event of leaving with ‘no deal’ both sides have stated that the rights of EU nationals living in the UK will be respected.

In a policy paper released on 6 December 2018 the government has confirmed that even in a 'no deal' scenario the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to run for those already in the UK.

Agreements between the UK and Switzerland (on 20 December 2018), and between the UK and the EEA EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, & Norway) (on 8 February 2019), available at the links below, have now confirmed that the rights of EEA and Swiss nationals living in the UK will be protected in the same way whether a deal is reached or not.

The Home Office have also confirmed that while EEA and Swiss nationals cannot apply under the current pilot they will be able to apply when the full EU Settlement Scheme opens in March 2019.

The European Union (EU)

The EU countries are:

Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria*, Croatia*, Republic of Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania*, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the UK.

* Restrictions on the employment of Bulgarian and Romanian nationals in the UK ended on 1 January 2014, and restrictions on Croatian nationals ended on 1 July 2018. As a result, nationals of Bulgaria, Croatia, and Romania are now treated the same as nationals of any other EU country.

The European Economic Area (EEA) & Switzerland - the European Free Trade Association (EFTA)

The EEA includes EU countries and also Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. It allows them to be part of the EU’s single market.

Switzerland is neither an EU nor EEA member but is part of the single market which means Swiss nationals have the same rights to live and work in the UK as other EEA nationals.

Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland together form the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).

Ireland

Irish nationals automatically have settled rights in the UK and do not need to apply for settled status, but they can apply if they wish.

'Frontier workers'

European citizens who live in one state and travel back and forth to work in another state are referred to as ‘frontier workers’.

The government’s policy paper ‘On the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU’, the similar agreements with Switzerland and the EFTA EEA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, & Norway), and the government’s policy paper on ‘The UK’s future skills-based immigration system’ make only brief mention of ‘Frontier workers’; but they all confirm that whether a deal is reached or not, after Brexit and under the new immigration system from 2021 those who have exercised their treaty rights as ‘frontier workers’ before the UK leaves the EU will be able to continue to do so.

There is no need to apply now

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU, EEA & Swiss citizens living in the UK until 2021 and you do not have to apply for anything now. You and your family can apply for ‘Settled Status’ at any point up to 30 June 2021 to continue living in the UK after the end of the transition period in December 2020. Applicants who have been resident in the UK for less than five years when they apply will be granted Pre-Settled status and will later apply for Settled Status without having to pay the fee again.

Under the agreement currently being negotiated close family members (children, spouses and partners, parents and grandparents) of those resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 would be able to join them in the UK, where the relationship is formed before 31 December 2020.

The scheme will open fully by March 2019, but a pilot through which employees of the University could apply ran from November 2018 to December 2018, and the next phase of this pilot started on 21 January 2019.

If you already hold a Permanent Residence card you will be able to apply free of charge to swap this for ‘settled status’ when the new system opens fully.

Settled Status Pilot Scheme

Following the previous pilot which ran from November to December 2018, the Home Office has launched the next stage of the Settled Scheme pilot which extends who can apply.

The new pilot, which opened on 21 January is available to:

  • Citizens of the European Union who hold a valid EU biometric passport (which has a digital chip)
  • Family member’s of someone from the EU who have a residence card with a biometric chip and 'EU right to reside' on the back

You must still use the Home Office’s 'EU Exit: ID Document Check' Android app to confirm your identity. 

Please use the following link to apply: https://apply-for-eu-settled-status.homeoffice.gov.uk/start/eu-settlement

On Monday 21 January Theresa May announced that the £65 fee for Settled and Pre Settled status will not apply when the scheme opens in March 2019 and that those who have, or will, apply through the pilot scheme will have their fee refunded by the Home Office. If you are about to apply through the pilot scheme you will still have to pay the fee but it will be refunded by the Home Office.

In March 2019 it will be possible to apply for a Settled/Pre Settled visa without using the Android app as other ways of applying will become available.

The scheme is still not yet for non EU EEA countries and Swiss citizens but the Home Office have confirmed that non EU EEA countries and Swiss citizens will be able to apply when the full system starts in March 2019.

Expenses Claims for EU Settled Status

On Monday 21 January Theresa May announced that the £65 fee for Settled and Pre Settled status will not apply when the scheme opens in March 2019 and that those who have, or will, apply through the pilot scheme will have their fee refunded by the Home Office. If you are about to apply through the pilot scheme you will still have to pay the fee but it will be refunded by the Home Office. We are reviewing the University offer to cover the costs of applying for Settlement in light of this new information.

On Friday 16 November the Vice-Chancellor announced that University has agreed to fund the cost of applying for Settlement for European (EU) employees and their dependants. University employees who are in employment before 29 March 2019 can claim the cost of their, and their family member's, Settlement/Pre Settlement applications. The University has also agreed to reimburse those EU employees who have applied for a Permanent Residence card since the June 2016 referendum result. The existing expenses process should be used in the normal way to submit a claim to the employing department/ faculty with the costs then being met by UAS Personnel Services.

When raising an expense claim for Settled Status, you must include the following information:

 Your Departmental Cost Centre

  1. The Natural Account Code: 51370
  2. Signature of an approved Departmental authorizer.

 The cost of Settled Status will be internally crossed charged back to a Personnel Services cost centre, so please be assured that this cost will not remain against the Departmental cost centre.

 If you do not include your Departmental cost centre, and an approved authorizing signature, Finance will be unable to process your claim.

'No deal' scenario

EU nationals

The government Department for Exiting the European Union, on 6 December 2018, published a policy paper (available at www.gov.uk/government/publications/policy-paper-on-citizens-rights-in-the-event-of-a-no-deal-brexit) with information on the rights of EU citizens in the UK in the event of a ‘no deal’ exit from the EU.

The main points in relation to a ‘no deal’ scenario are:

  • The EU Settlement Scheme will continue to run for those resident in the UK by 29 March 2019;
  • The EU Settlement Scheme will run until 31 December 2020, instead of 30 June 2021;
  • The Home Office will continue to look to grant, rather than refuse, status and the more generous EU Settlement Scheme requirements will remain with, for example, comprehensive sickness insurance still not being required;
  • Existing close family members (children, spouses and partners, parents and grandparents) of those resident in the UK by 29 March 2019, where the relationship existed by this date, and children born after this date, will still be able to join them in the UK;
  • As a result, EU nationals and their family members resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 will still be able to work, study, and access benefits and services in the UK;
  • While agreements are still being sought with the EFTA (EEA countries and Switzerland), EEA & Swiss nationals resident in the UK by 29 March 2019 will be able to stay in the UK post-exit.

EEA (Iceland, Liechtenstein & Norway) & Swiss nationals

Agreements between the UK and Switzerland (on 20 December 2018), and between the UK and the EEA EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein, & Norway) (on 8 February 2019), available at the links below, have now confirmed that the rights of EEA and Swiss nationals living in the UK will be protected in the same way, whether a deal is reached or not.

EU/ EEA nationals arriving after BREXIT

Whether or not a deal is agreed before the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019, EU/ EEA nationals and their dependants will still be able to come to the UK to visit, work, or study.

If an agreement is reached between the UK and the EU there should be a transition period, after the UK leaves the EU in March 2019, up until December 2020 during which the rights of EU and EEA nationals coming to the UK will not change.

If the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 with 'no deal', the government has outlined that EU/ EEA nationals and their EU/EEA dependants (spouse/partner and children under 18) arriving from 30 March 2019 will be able to enter the UK and will be permitted to work and study for up to three months. Non-European family members will have to apply for, and obtain, a Family Permit before travelling to the UK with, or to join, an EU/ EEA national family member.

Those who wish to stay in the UK for longer than three months will need to apply for 'temporary leave to remain' for three years. There will be an online application, with an application fee (which has not yet been set) and identity, criminality, and security checks. When the new immigration system is launched in 2021 EU/ EEA nationals and their family members who arrived in the UK from 30 March 2019 will then need to apply for the appropriate visa under the new system.

The UK government published a policy paper on 'The UK's future skills-based immigration system' in December 2018 which sets out the likely visa requirements for EU/EEA nationals coming to visit or live in the UK after December 2020. The policy paper sets out some details of changes to the UK immigration system, however, it states that the government will be consulting widely as they develop the system over the next 12 months so the full details of the new system will not be available for some time.

Settled Status and British Nationality

The new Settled Status will enable holders to apply for naturalisation as British citizens.

Settled Status is only valid from the date it is confirmed, so (unless the applicant is married to a British citizen) an applicant for citizenship must wait for one year after obtaining Settled Status before they qualify for citizenship.

The application for permanent residence (as confirmed by the permanent residence document) under the current system, which will be available until March 2019, can be backdated to the date that it was acquired, which may be some years before the document was issued. Therefore, if you have been in the UK for 6 years or more, this route can allow you to immediately apply for British citizenship after receiving a permanent residence document as the permanent residence status was obtained more than a year ago.

Dual nationality for German Citizens

German citizens may be aware that they are permitted to obtain the citizenship of an EU country and retain their German citizenship, but if/when the UK leaves the EU, applying for British citizenship after that date will result in the loss of German citizenship.

The ‘Brexit transition act’ which was approved by the German cabinet on 5 September includes a provision to help Germans applying for British citizenship, and UK nationals applying for German citizenship. This provision states that if a deal is reached between the UK and the EU, Germans who have applied for British citizenship, and vice versa, before the end of the transition period in December 2020 will be allowed to retain their own citizenship, even if their application is decided after the end of the transition period:

www.auswaertiges-amt.de/de/aussenpolitik/europa/brexit-uebergangsgesetz/2119360 (German)

www.auswaertiges-amt.de/en/aussenpolitik/europa/transitional-brexitact/2119778 (English)

Nevertheless, as matters stand, German citizens considering naturalisation as British citizens might well want to proceed with their applications as a matter of some urgency.  It is expected that the pilot EU Settlement Scheme will provide applicants a ‘Settled Status’ document more quickly than applying for the current Permanent Residence Card or Document Certifying Permanent Residence.

The German Federal Ministry of the Interior have stated in an FAQ that in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit a similar arrangement is proposed allowing Germans who have applied for British citizenship, and vice versa, before the UK leaves the EU on 29 March 2019 to retain their own citizenship:

www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/faqs/EN/themen/migration/brexit/faqs-brexit.html