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Brexit – advice and support for staff

The University of St Andrews is global, inclusive and outward looking. We recognise that many of our staff have practical, professional and personal concerns as a result of the decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union.

We are committed to ensuring that our international and diverse community of staff and their families feel entirely at home here, and have access to up-to-date information and the best possible support and advice.


As the UK negotiates the terms of its exit from the EU over the coming months, a range of support will be available to staff, their partners and immediate families:

  • The University will cover the cost of an application for permanent residence or an EEA Registration Certificate. This will also apply to any member of staff who has applied for residence since 23 June 2016.
  • Our Human Resources department will continue to run informal drop in sessions across the University for EEA staff and their families interested in finding out more about applying for UK residency or British citizenship. To learn more about these sessions, please contact Cameron Little, HR Business Partner, on
  • We have made an arrangement with a leading Scottish legal firm to provide subsidised expert legal advice to staff members on a case-by-case basis. For details of this support, please contact Human Resources. Colleagues are of course free to seek their own independent legal advice.
  • We will supply documentation necessary to support an application for permanent residency or citizenship, including evidence of earnings if necessary. Please speak to Human Resources to facilitate this.

Useful HR resources:

Brexit information sessions FAQs (PDF, 178 KB)

Brexit & the options for EEA Nationals (HR presentation April to June 2017) (PDF, 206 KB)

General Information

What is the University doing to plan for Brexit?

We regularly examine the challenges and opportunities likely to arise from Brexit, model scenarios which might impact fees, funding, research bids and immigration statuses, and consider changes which may be required to the University Strategic Plan.

We are listening closely to the concerns, ideas and experiences of our staff and students to ensure these inform our planning, lobbying and communications.

We have a programme of regular, active lobbying of the UK and Scottish Governments and the EU, to ensure the voices of St Andrews staff and students are heard at the highest levels of Brexit decision-making.

We have recently become members of the Europaeum, a network of research-focused European universities, the Talloires Network, a global body of universities with a focus on civic engagement, and the European University Association.

Should I still apply for European Union research funding? 

Yes. The UK Government has stated that the result of the referendum has no immediate effect on those applying to or participating in Horizon 2020, or those whose research proposals are currently being considered. UK researchers and businesses should continue to apply to the programme in the normal way.

We expect that the future of UK access to European Union research and innovation thinking and funding after the UK has left the EU will be a matter for detailed discussions and a key negotiating point for the UK Government now that it has formally signalled its intention to take the UK out of the EU.

Working alongside Universities Scotland and Universities UK, St Andrews will lobby strongly on the importance of maintaining access to the European research sector and viable funding streams, and the benefits to Europe of continued links with high-quality, research-active centres like St Andrews.

There have been some reports that UK academics are already experiencing a post-referendum bias when applying for funding with European partners. Is this happening in St Andrews? 

We are aware of those reports, but have not found any credible evidence that this has happened here. Our Research Policy Office (RPO) is compiling feedback from our Schools and we will ensure that this is presented in our lobbying of the UK and Scottish governments, funding bodies and other appropriate authorities. If, however, you believe you have experienced this sort of bias or are aware of credible examples, please ensure your School is aware. You can also inform RPO.

What should I do if I encounter discrimination or difficulties with EU grants?

We’re relying on our colleagues for the best intelligence and would encourage you to let us know if this happens to you or if you hear of it happening to colleagues. Please always make sure that you inform your line manager and/or your Head of School.

What will Brexit mean for our EU staff and colleagues from overseas?

We are acutely sensitive to the feelings and concerns of our EU and overseas staff and it is a priority for this university to respond with reassurance and timely, accurate information.

St Andrews has flourished for six centuries precisely because it has always welcomed scholars and staff from afar and grown stronger for being a truly international community – and that will continue to be the case. We have pressed the UK Government to make a clear statement that all EU nationals living and working here continue to be welcome, and that any changes to immigration rules will only apply to new entrants to the UK.

The Government published a paper setting out its offer for EU citizens in the UK, and UK citizens in the EU. The key points and the full document are available online

Details of specific support for University EU staff and their families can be found above under ‘Support’.

How does the referendum result affect our students and prospective students from the EU?

The Scottish Government has given a welcome assurance that all current EU students, those matriculating in 2018 and those commencing their studies in Scotland in 2019 will continue to have their tuition fees paid by the Scottish Government for the duration of their courses.

Will the UK continue to participate in the Erasmus programme?

There is no immediate change to the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme following the EU referendum result and the UK National Agency will continue to manage and deliver the programme across the UK. All participants and beneficiaries should continue with their Erasmus+ funded activities and preparation for the published application deadlines in 2016 and 2017.

The UK Government has confirmed to the British Council that it will underwrite payments for Erasmus+ contracts that are signed while the UK is still a member state, even if payments continue beyond the point of the UK’s EU exit date. This, together with the fact that the UK will be able to apply for funding as normal during the two-year negotiation period, means that our 2018 to 2019 participation should now be secured.

Links and useful resources

Principal’s statement on triggering of Article 50

UK Government: Safeguarding the position of EU citizens in the UK and UK nationals in the EU (PDF, 336KB)

EEA Financial Support Policy (PDF, 117 KB)

EEA flowchart (PDF, 71 KB)

EEA frequently asked questions (PDF, 134 KB)

Universities UK – Brexit advice and links

Universities Scotland – Brexit Priorities

Universities Scotland, UCU and NUS Scotland – Manifesto for the Mobility of Talent

Applying for British Citizenship

Applying for UK residency

Independent news, analysis and opinion on HE and Brexit

Times Higher Brexit updates and articles