Oxford and the EU: Staff Q&As | University of Oxford
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Oxford and the EU: Staff Q&As

Updated 30 November 2016

Please note: Q&As for students are available on the Oxford students: EU referendum site.

The information below is designed to supplement the slides and video on the information sessions for EU staff site.

Please note that the responses below may not cover all eventualities as each person's circumstances are different. If you are unsure, please contact the Staff Immigration team.

Following the referendum result, is there any immediate change to the immigration status of EU nationals working or studying at Oxford?

The government has confirmed there has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK as a result of the referendum.

What is the transition period?

The transition period is a two-year negotiation process between the UK and the European Union, which is triggered once a member state formally invokes Article 50 of the Treaty on the European Union. During this time, the terms of the UK’s exit from the European Union will be decided.

The decision about when to trigger Article 50 and start the formal process of leaving the EU will be taken by the prime minister.

Will EU staff need visas to work in the UK during the transition period?

No. The UK remains a member of the EU throughout the transition period. This means that EU staff retain the right to remain under the current arrangements.

Do EU staff need to do anything to confirm their status in the UK?

There is currently no requirement for EU nationals to register for any documentation to confirm their status in the UK.

However,  EU staff who want to apply for documentation confirming their status could consider the following options:

•    Those who have worked in the UK for less than 5 years can apply for a Residence Certificate
•    Those who have worked in the UK for at least 5 years have a permanent right to reside and can apply for a Permanent Residence Certificate
•    Those who have worked in the UK for at least 6 years are eligible to apply for British citizenship, as are children born in the UK whose parent(s) have Permanent Residence.

Years spent carrying out other activities in the UK can also be relied on, such as those spent as a student as long as comprehensive medical cover was held. Family members of EU nationals who have been working and/or studying here should also be eligible to apply under these routes.

What will happen to EU staff once the UK leaves the EU?

Arrangements after the transition will be subject to negotiation between the UK government and the European Union. The University is seeking to clarify, as a matter of urgency, what the long-term position of EU staff will be once the UK leaves the EU.

The Government issued a statement on 12 July 2016 saying: 'When we do leave the EU we fully expect that the legal status of EU nationals living in the UK, and that of UK nationals in EU member states, will be properly protected. The Government recognises and values the important contribution made by EU and other non-UK citizens who work, study and live in the UK.'

Is the University offering any help with applications for permanent residency or citizenship?

The University’s Staff Immigration Team will be able to answer questions from staff about the requirements and practicalities for obtaining Residence Certificates, Permanent Residence and British citizenship. However, please be aware that they are not allowed to offer legal advice and so will not be in a position to help people complete forms or to check completed forms.

The University is not currently providing financial support for applications for Residence Certificates, Permanent Residence or British citizenship. However, the policy will remain under review pending the outcome of the negotiations to leave the EU.

How can I find out the latest about the status of EU nationals in the UK?

You can sign up to a mailing list to receive updates from the University when announcements are made by the government that may affect staff. To sign up, please email eu-staff-updates-subscribe@maillist.admin.ox.ac.uk.

What will happen to my pension if I decide to leave the UK? Can I transfer it overseas?

Your benefits remain in the pension scheme until your retirement age. The scheme will write to you with information about your pension benefits.

Defined benefit pensions while they remain in the scheme are linked to price inflation and so will increase in value. Any defined contribution funds you have built up will continue to be invested for you and you will still be able to manage these investments as usual, but you will not be able to contribute further.

You do have the option of transferring your pension overseas, but the receiving scheme must be recognised by HMRC. A list of recognised schemes is available on the HMRC website.

Can I receive pension payments outside the UK?

Yes. You have two choices:

  1. Payments can be paid directly into your UK bank account and you can transfer them to an overseas account when you wish to do so.
  2. Payments can be paid directly to an overseas account. Please be aware that there may be a small charge for this service.

There is more information for members of the University (requires SSO log in) including a recording of information sessions by specialist immigration solicitor Philip Turpin.

The information below is designed to supplement the information on the University's Gateway to Europe site, which includes the latest statements from the government and stakeholder organisations (e.g. UUK) about EU research projects and funding.

Following the referendum result, is there any immediate change to EU research funding or programmes?

The government has confirmed there is no immediate change to:

  • Horizon 2020 research funding
  • Erasmus+ (including beneficiaries of Erasmus+, those applying in 2017, and students studying in the EU)

I currently receive EU research funding. What will happen to it?

The government has confirmed that the referendum result has no immediate effect on those participating in Horizon 2020. You can read the full statement of Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, at www.gov.uk/government/news/statement-on-higher-education-and-research-following-the-eu-referendum.

On 13 August the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced that the UK government will support UK beneficiaries of EU funding beyond the date the UK leaves the EU. He stated: “Where UK organisations bid directly to the European Commission on a competitive basis for EU funding projects while we are still a member of the EU, for example universities participating in Horizon 2020, the Treasury will underwrite the payments of such awards, even when specific projects continue beyond the UK’s departure from the EU.”

The full announcement is at www.gov.uk/government/news/chancellor-philip-hammond-guarantees-eu-funding-beyond-date-uk-leaves-the-eu.

Can I still apply for EU research funding?

Yes. The government has confirmed that there will be no immediate change to the UK university sector's ability to participate in EU research and innovation programmes such as Horizon 2020. This was confirmed in a statement (28 June 2016) from Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, and confirmed by the EU commissioner for research and innovation.

On 26 July the EC updated their standard briefing on Horizon 2020 proposal evaluation to include the statement: "Until the UK leaves the EU, EU law continues to apply to and within the UK, both when it comes to rights and obligations. This includes the eligibility of UK legal entities to participate and receive funding in Horizon 2020 actions. Experts should not evaluate proposals with UK participants any differently than before."

The long-term future of UK access to European research funding will be decided as part of the UK's exit negotiations, which are expected to take up to two yearsThe UK will remain an EU member during this time and as such researchers at UK universities will be entitled to participate in EU programmes and apply for EU research grants. As announced in a statement of 13 August, the UK government has committed to support UK beneficiaries of EU funding beyond the date the UK leaves the EU.

For the latest information on EU research funding and projects, visit the University's Gateway to Europe site.

Will the UK continue to participate in Erasmus+?

The government has confirmed that there is no immediate change to the UK’s participation in the Erasmus+ programme and that 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 with preparation for the published application deadlines in 2016 and 2017.

What steps is Oxford taking to ensure research groups can continue to participate in European research collaborations?

Oxford is part of the European Advisory Group, which has been set up by the Russell Group to work closely with the members of the Cabinet Office negotiating Brexit. We will be working with the UK government and the European Commission to secure the best deal for universities from the negotiations so that we can continue to form productive collaborations across Europe and play a leading role in EU-funded research activities.

Oxford continues to lobby the UK government on the importance of access to Horizon 2020 and future EU framework programmes via our own high-level contacts as well as with the Russell Group, Universities UK, the Academies and other interest groups. We are taking advantage of every forum open to us to make sure that the needs of the UK higher education sector and the contributions we make to economic growth are not forgotten.

What steps is Oxford taking to ensure that UK research bids are not discriminated against?

Oxford has made strong representations to the European Commission to ensure that UK bids are not discriminated against (and we have received assurances from the Commissioner for Research). The University's success rates in terms of EU research project funding have not fallen since the EU referendum and we have received no reports of Brexit influencing the outcome of project evaluations.

What is the University doing to ensure ongoing access to ERC funding, and are there any contingency plans if we are cut off from accessing these funds?

Access to ERC funding is dependent on the UK having access to Horizon 2020 via some form of association agreement with the EU. One of the University’s key messages to government is that the ERC plays a crucial part in our international standing, that it is vital that the UK can continue to host these awards, and that we must therefore have full access to EU framework programmes.

In terms of contingency plans, neither Oxford nor any other UK university will be in a position to offer ‘replacement’ funding for ERC grants (to date in Horizon 2020, Oxford has been awarded 62 ERC grants valued at over €100 million). If the government is not able to negotiate access to ERC funding, we have been clear that some form of comparable prestigious fellowship scheme will need to be introduced at national level to ensure that we do not lose our international competitive edge and global standing.

What is the University asking the government for as part of the upcoming EU negotiations?

We are working closely with the government to ensure the best possible outcome from the negotiations. We are looking for a new relationship with the EU that enables us to continue to:

  • participate in future EU Framework programmes and conduct collaborative research with EU colleagues
  • host ERC grants
  • co-ordinate projects and host infrastructures
  • recruit and retain the best staff regardless of nationality
  • recruit the best students regardless of nationality
  • influence future research agendas.

Where can I find out more?

The University's Gateway to Europe site provides information about European funding-related activities and support at Oxford.

For the latest statements from the government and stakeholder organisations following the EU referendum result, visit the EU referendum round-up page on the site.

Members of the University can also view a Research Committee paper entitled 'Brexit: The implications for UK higher education, and Oxford in particular' (single sign-on required).