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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 and questions 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 feels entirely at home here, and has access to helpful, up-to-date information and the best possible support and advice.

Leaving the EU

The United Kingdom is currently due to leave the EU. As present the terms of that exit are unknown. We will update these pages as and when new and relevant information becomes available, and staff will also be kept informed directly via email and the staff newsletter In the Loop.


A range of support and advice is available to our staff, their partners and immediate families.

Advice for EU citizens

EU citizens rights in the UK post Brexit

The UK government has reached an agreement on EU citizens' rights and this protects the right to continue living and working in the UK. The agreement covers both EU and non-EU family members and requires that individuals must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.

EU Settlement Scheme 

EU citizens living in the UK and their family members will need to apply under the settlement scheme to obtain their new UK immigration status to remain in the UK beyond Thursday 31 December 2020.

Those with five years' continuous residency will be granted Settled Status; those without will be granted Pre-Settled Status. Those with Pre-Settled Status can stay in the UK for a further five years but must obtain Settled Status if they want to remain in the UK permanently. 

Citizens of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland 

The UK government has reached an agreement with the EEA EFTA states (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland to protect the rights of those citizens in the UK. As widely expected, these citizens and their family members will be required to apply for residence status through the EU Settlement Scheme in the same manner as EU citizens. 

Irish nationals

Irish citizens living in the UK are not required to obtain leave under the EU Settlement Scheme as their status within the UK is not linked to the UK’s membership of the EU. Irish citizens rights are protected in UK law under the Common Travel Area rules which is unaffected by Brexit. 

Irish citizens do not need to apply for EU Settled Status by may do so if they wish. Non-Irish and Non-UK family members will need to apply for Settled Status. 

EU permanent residency 

Any permanent residency document will become invalid once the UK leave the EU as their status is linked to the UK's membership of the EU.  These documents will not be a valid proof of residence or right to work after Thursday 31 December 2020. Individuals with permanent residency must either apply for Settled Status or UK citizenship, if eligible, to continue living in the UK after Brexit.

If you already hold a Permanent Residence card you will be able to apply free of charge to swap this for settled status.

The pilot scheme 

The current settlement scheme pilot, which opened on Monday 21 January 2019, 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.

Applicants must still use the Home Office’s 'EU Exit: ID Document Check' Android app to confirm your identity. HR have an android device which individuals can use, please contact for access to the device.

The application process can be found on the UK government website.

In March 2019 the scheme will fully open and when it does it will be possible to apply without using the Android app; in addition, EFTA and Swiss citizens will be eligible to apply.


On Monday 21 January 2019, the UK Prime Minister 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 at a later date.

Human Resources have taken the decision to continue reimbursing the application fee and will be in touch with employees at later date to reconcile the expense once the Home Office being processing refunds.

There is no need to apply now

There will be no change to the rights and status of EU 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 Wednesday 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.

'No deal' scenario

The UK government is negotiating the terms of ‘Brexit’ with the EU but even in the event of leaving with ‘no deal’; there is a commitment via a policy paper released on Thursday 6 December 2018 that even in a 'no deal' scenario the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to run for those already in the UK by Friday 29 March 2019.

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 Thursday 29 March 2019;
  • The EU Settlement Scheme will run until Thursday 31 December 2020, instead of Wednesday 30 June 2021;
  • Existing close family members (children, spouses and partners, parents and grandparents) of those resident in the UK by Thursday 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.

EU and EEA nationals arriving after Brexit

Whether or not a deal is agreed before the UK leaves the EU on Thursday 29 March 2019, EU and EEA nationals and their dependents 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 Thursday 29 March 2019 with 'no deal', the government has outlined that EU and EEA nationals and their EU and EEA dependants (spouse or partner and children under 18) arriving from Saturday 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 or 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 and EEA nationals and their family members who arrived in the UK from Saturday 30 March 2019 will then need to apply for the appropriate visa under the new system.

Help and assistance

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Cameron Little in HR on or visit the UK government website.

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.

What is St Andrews doing to plan in general for Brexit?

The University’s Brexit Preparedness Group, chaired by the Vice-Principal for International Strategy and External Relations, meets regularly to consider 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 ensure the continued smooth running of our operations.

The group’s mission is to ensure St Andrews’ resilience pre and post-Brexit, and that our staff, students and prospective students are kept appropriately informed.

Its membership ensures expert input from academic and professional services staff, risk management, planning, student recruitment, human resources, communications and student services.

The group listens closely to the concerns, ideas and experiences of our staff and students to ensure these inform our planning, risk-analysis, 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.

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.

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 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 provided detailed advice for EU Citizens in the section above.

Links and useful resources