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

Oxford and the EU: staff Q&As

Updated 17 May 2019

Q&As for students are available on the Oxford and the EU: student Q&As page.

Implications of the UK leaving the European Union

The UK referendum of June 2016 resulted in a vote in favour of leaving the European Union (EU). Currently, UK membership enables staff from across the EU to come to Oxford to teach and research, and assists Oxford's staff and students to participate in European research programmes. EU membership has enabled Oxford's participation in pan-European collaborations, and guaranteed the opportunity to access EU research funding (of some £78m in 2017/18).

The UK government has negotiated a withdrawal agreement with the EU, which remains subject to approval by a vote of the UK parliament. Parliament has rejected the current deal on three occasions, while also voting for a motion opposing a “no deal” exit and against any of the alternatives that have so far been proposed.

The UK government and the EU have now agreed a second extension to the UK’s departure date in order to secure the passage of the withdrawal agreement and necessary legislation. This extension will last no longer than 31 October 2019. Should the withdrawal agreement be ratified before this date, the UK will leave on the first day of the month following this, or on 1 November 2019. If the withdrawal agreement is not ratified by 22 May 2019, the UK will be required to participate in the upcoming European parliamentary elections. If elections are not held in the UK, the extension will end on 31 May 2019 and the UK will leave without a deal.

If a withdrawal agreement is in place by the departure date, then a “transition period” is expected to follow until December 2020. If a withdrawal agreement is not in place by the date of departure, then the UK will face leaving under the no deal scenario. The University is making preparations for this possibility.

Whatever the outcome, the University of Oxford is, and intends to remain, a thriving, cosmopolitan community of scholars and students united in our commitment to education and research. The departure from the EU will not change this; our staff and students from all across the world are as warmly welcome as ever.

The information below is correct at the time of writing on the basis of current UK government and EU policy and will be updated as new advice is issued.

Please note:

This content will be reviewed every week for the foreseeable future. If there is an update to the content there will be an asterisk (*) next to the relevant question. Each answer will display the dates when it was last updated and reviewed, e.g. (Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 07/02/19).

If you have any specific questions which are not featured here, please contact one of the following teams who will be happy to help with your inquiry:

Immigration, visas and the EU Settlement Scheme:
Please contact either James Baker or Tim Currie in the University’s Staff Immigration Team: james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk; tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk

Research and EU funding issues:
Please contact Research Services: ecresearch@admin.ox.ac.uk

Pay and purchasing issues:
Please contact the purchasing team: purchasing@admin.ox.ac.uk

Immigration and visas:

* I am an EU citizen. Can I still work at Oxford?

Absolutely. All Oxford University staff from the EU will have the same right to work in the UK whether a withdrawal deal is agreed or not. Legislation for this has already been agreed. A new application system known as the EU Settlement Scheme opened to all applicants on 30 March 2019. Oxford had participated in the pilot stages of the scheme since the end of November 2018. There is no application fee under the new EU Settlement Scheme as the £65 administrative fee which previously applied to applications submitted in the pilot stage no longer applies.

EU/EEA nationals and their family members who live in the UK have until 31 December 2020 to apply for Pre-Settled, or Settled status through the EU Settlement Scheme. Pre-Settled is for those who have been living in the UK for less than five years, Settled is for those living here five years or more. They will continue to have the right to work and live in the UK up until the application deadline.

Further information about the EU Settlement Scheme is available here.

(Updated 17/05/19 | Reviewed 17/05/19)

Can I apply for British citizenship while I am working at Oxford?

In addition to the EU Settlement Scheme, those EU/EEA staff who meet the requirements may wish to go one step further and apply for British Citizenship. The University’s existing Visa Loan Scheme has now been broadened in scope to enable EU staff to utilise this benefit for a British Citizenship applications. If you are considering dual citizenship, you should check the legal position of the relevant country before making an application, as not all EU countries allow dual nationality.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

I want to appoint an EU citizen to a University post. Can I still do so?

Yes. In the event of a Brexit deal there will be no change for EU/EEA staff living and working in the UK or obtaining new employment in the UK until after December 2020. In the event of a no deal Brexit, the Home Office has confirmed that it will still operate the EU Settlement Scheme, which allows existing EU/EEA residents to apply to stay in the UK after Brexit. The Home Office will allow EU/EEA citizens arriving after exit day to work but they will be required to obtain a European Temporary Leave to Remain visa which will allow them to stay for three years. They will need to apply for a new visa under the new system after December 2020.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What will happen after December 2020?

At present, we know that the EU Settlement Scheme ends on December 31, 2020, after which new EU/EEA nationals entering the UK will do so under new, yet to be decided, immigration legislation.

The University’s Staff Immigration Team, which provides immigration advice for EU staff about Brexit as well as non-EEA immigration matters, is monitoring developments closely. We expect a new immigration system to be in place by January 2021. If the Home Office employs a similar points-based system to that used for existing non-EEA nationals, we will already have in-house expertise capable of providing this additional service.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

If you have further questions about immigration and visa issues, please contact the University’s Staff Immigration Team:
James Baker james.baker@admin.ox.ac.uk 01865 289908
Tim Currie tim.currie@admin.ox.ac.uk 01865 289903

Research

On January 30, the European Commission published a no deal Brexit contingency plan proposal part of which relates to research grant funding. A "grace period" to the end of 2019 is proposed whereby the Commission would continue to fund UK participation in Horizon 2020 providing the UK Government continues to contribute to the 2019 EU budget. The document proposes that the EU would be willing to continue making payments in 2019 to UK beneficiaries for contracts signed and decisions made before 30 March 2019 and to maintain the eligibility for UK entities for EU funding up to 31 December 2019.

It is our understanding that BEIS is in dialogue with DExEU and HMT and are unlikely to be able to issue a Government response to this proposal immediately. The University is keen to avoid a cliff-edge in EU programme funding and we will be working with other key stakeholders to engage in discussions with the Government about the proposal.

The answers given below are based on the current UK Government position as of Friday 1 February should we leave the EU without a deal. Should this position change, then information given will be amended accordingly.

What will happen to my current European Commission (EC) research award in the event of no deal?

Regardless of the form that Brexit takes your project will continue. If a deal is reached and the transition agreement comes into force funding will continue from the EC to the end of the project. In the event of a no deal, Brexit the UK Government underwrite will come into force. See below for how this will operate for collaborative projects, ERC grants and MSCA Individual Fellowships. In the event of no deal, it is likely that the EC will require us to report on spend on projects up to exit day. Any remaining unspent budget on projects will then be underwritten by the UK Government and we will claim post-Brexit costs from them.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What will the Government’s funding underwrite cover?

The UK Government underwrite is in two parts. The initial underwrite committed the UK to protect projects which secured EU funding against applications made before exit day. In July 2018 the underwrite was extended to support UK participation in Horizon 2020 applications and projects to the end of that programme in December 2020. The Government funding will allow UK institutions to participate in successful projects as third country, or self-funded, participants for projects’ full duration. The first underwrite applies to ERC and Marie Curie (MSCA) funding as well as to participation in collaborative projects. It applies to all awarded funding where the application was submitted before the date of Brexit. The extended underwrite does not apply to ERC or to MSCA individual fellowship grants as the UK will not be eligible to apply for the single-beneficiary schemes once we have left the EU. The Government statement reads: "UK participants that receive Horizon 2020 funding from the European Commission or have submitted a bid before EU exit and are notified of their success after exit will be covered by the underwrite guarantee, for the lifetime of the projects." The Government has been asked to clarify the position on other sources of EC funding for research and has confirmed that all projects drawing on the EC’s Horizon 2020 budget –whether directly or indirectly – are included in the underwrite. If you have other non H2020 EC funding, please contact the European & International Team for further information on ecresearch@admin.ox.ac.uk.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

How will the underwrite work?

The UK Government Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is responsible for implementing the underwrite for Horizon 2020 projects. The University, through a number of stakeholder groups, is taking part in consultation with BEIS and UKRI on how the underwrite will operate. No firm details are yet available.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What should I do to prepare for the leaving date if there is a no deal Brexit?

You should ensure all expenses are claimed promptly, timesheets are up to date and that all eligible expenditure has been charged to the project as soon as possible. Should the Government underwrite be needed, Research Accounts and Research Services will be working directly with Principal Investigators (PIs), Departments and Faculties to be ready. They will support the preparation of any financial and technical reporting that may be required and Research Accounts will also make arrangements for audits if these are required.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

Are there likely to be auditing requests for costs up to the leaving date, if it’s a no deal?

The UK Government and the EC have not yet clarified the position. It is likely an audit certificate will be required if direct costs on an ongoing Horizon 2020 project have exceeded €325,000 by exit day. Research Accounts will make the arrangements for that audit if required and work with departments on a project by project basis.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What is the University doing to ensure that research collaboration with European institutions can continue?

Regardless of the form Brexit takes, the UK Government has been clear that it wants to have the option to associate to Horizon Europe, the successor EU research funding programme to Horizon 2020. Oxford is continuing to lobby government on the value of continued European collaboration and that full Association would be the best outcome for research and innovation. Many colleagues are working with partner institutions across Europe, which will continue regardless of the final form of Brexit. Examples include the University’s initiative with the four Berlin universities and the Memorandum of Understanding we have with Grenoble.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What is the UK doing to fund blue-skies research if UK academics no longer qualify for European Research Council (ERC) funding?

The University is engaging through numerous stake-holder groups for a UK version of the ERC which will seek to replicate the Starting, Consolidator and Advanced Grant schemes.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

Where can I find more information on the Government’s position?

The UK Government has published a series of documents setting out its preparations for a "no deal" scenario. The overview document outlines the general approach and introduces a series of technical notices specific to particular topics. One notice focuses on Horizon 2020 funding if there's no Brexit deal.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

Do other organisations have ‘Q and A’ I can look at?

Yes. Many stakeholder bodies are producing Q&A information. One example is the UK Research Office (UKRI's Brussels based office) who maintain an information note that also contains links to numerous source documents.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

I am part of an ongoing Horizon 2020 collaborative grant. What will happen to this funding?

If we leave with a withdrawal agreement, you will see no change. If there is no deal Brexit, the Government’s underwrite will apply. The project, and your participation, will therefore continue for the lifetime of the project. In a no deal scenario, there may need to be an amendment to the grant agreement to allow for the change of status of UK participants from EU Member State participants to third country participants not funded by the EC. This would be handled by the University’s European and International Team in Research Services who will provide information and support should this become necessary.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

Can I still apply to take part in collaborative Horizon 2020 projects?

Yes. Under a withdrawal agreement, the system will not change. Under no deal, the Government has committed to provide the funding required for UK institutions to participate in Horizon 2020 collaborative projects should the EC cease funding UK participants. This is the underwrite commitment and will allow UK participation in H2020 collaborative projects as third country (self- funded) beneficiaries.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

I have an ERC grant that has some years to run. What will happen to my funding?

With a withdrawal agreement, it will continue unchanged. Under no deal, the UK underwrite will apply. If the ERC stop funding UK grant holders the Government will fund that portion of your project yet to be completed and your project will therefore continue to its current end date with its current budget. If there is no deal, your grant may need to move status from ERC to UK funding - this will depend on the position taken by the ERC at the time of Brexit. If this does happen the process will be handled by the European and International team in Research Services, in liaison with you and with your Department. Should the underwrite be needed, Research Accounts and Research Services will be work directly with academics, Departments and Faculties on a project by project basis to prepare any financial and technical reporting that may be required.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

I have an ERC grant that has not yet started. What will happen to the funding?

Your project will take place with the dates and budget in the grant agreement. Under a withdrawal agreement, the funding will be from the ERC. In a no deal scenario, and if the ERC stops funding UK grant holders, the underwrite will apply and the UK Government will fund the project instead. The grant may need to move status from ERC to UK funding, depending on the position taken by the ERC at the time of Brexit. This process would be handled by the European & International team in Research Services - in liaison with you and with your Department.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

Can I apply for ERC funding after Brexit?

Under a withdrawal agreement and transitional arrangement, UK Principal Investigators and their institutions will continue to be eligible to apply to ERC 2019 and 2020 Work Programme calls. Under no deal, however, unless the terms and conditions of ERC funding change, UK institutions will no longer be able to apply to ERC calls post Brexit. The University, through different stakeholder groups, is petitioning the Government to provide an alternative source of equivalent blue-skies research funding. As with the ERC, the University would like to see excellence as the sole criterion for evaluation and we will be looking for significant funding to be allocated to the Social Sciences and Humanities.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

I am a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow. What will happen to my funding?

Your project will continue to its current end date and with its current budget. If the UK leaves the EU under a withdrawal agreement funding will continue from the ED. Under no deal the UK underwrite will apply. If the European Commission stops funding UK MSCA Individual Fellows at the date of Brexit, the Government will fund that portion of your project yet to be completed. The grant may need to move status from MSCA to UK funding, depend on the position taken by the European Commission at the time of Brexit. Should this happen the process would be handled by the European and International team in Research Services - in liaison with you, your supervisor and your Department. Research Accounts and Research Services will work directly with PIs, Departments and Faculties to support the preparation of any financial and technical reporting that may be required. If we leave with an agreement, there will be no change to MSCA funding.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

Our team has a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow due to start after Brexit. What will happen to their funding?

The project will happen with its current dates and budget. If the UK leaves the EU under a withdrawal agreement, funding will be drawn from the EC. Under no deal, the UK underwrite will apply. Should the European Commission stop funding UK MSCA Individual Fellows on the Brexit date, the Government will fund the fellowship instead. The grant may need to move status from MSCA to UK funding, depending on the position the EC takes. In that case, the process would be handled by the European and International team in Research Services, in liaison with the Fellow, the supervisor and the host Department.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

Will a new Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship awarded under the 2018 call still be funded?

Yes. If we secure a withdrawal agreement, grant agreements will be signed and fellowships will be funded by the EC. Without a withdrawal agreement, the UK underwrite will apply. If the Commission stops funding UK MSCA Individual Fellows at the date of Brexit, the Government will fund the fellowship instead. The process required to conclude and sign the MSCA Grant Agreement should be followed to secure the fellowship (you will be supported in this by the European and International Team, Research Services).

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

If you have further questions about EC funded issues, including on clinical trials, please contact Gill Wells and Katie Price in the European and International Team, Research Services on ecresearch@admin.ox.ac.uk.
If you have questions for the Research Accounts team, please contact euresacc@admin.ox.ac.uk. Please put Brexit at the start of your email subject line.

Travel and welfare:

I plan to travel abroad around the time of exit day. Do I need to do anything?

Until there is clarity on the nature of UK’s withdrawal from the EU, it is not possible to provide specific advice about travel arrangements. For the time being, you should continue to arrange your travel as you would have previously, and check this page on the UK Government website for updates. Further information is also available on the UKCISA website.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What is the current advice for travel after exit day if we get an agreement?

If a deal with the UK and EU Government is reached before this date, there will be no changes to current visa requirements or entitlements until the end date of the transition period likely to be 31 December 2020.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What is the current advice for travel after exit day if there is no deal?

If the UK leaves the EU without a deal on exit day, you should keep up-to-date with information on the Government website and news, checking as close to your time of travel as possible. You should consider that there might be some delays at entry points into the UK.

The Government’s current passport advice is that under no deal UK nationals will need a minimum of six months remaining on their existing passport prior to travelling to Europe. If, for example, you have a ten-year passport which will be older than 9 years and 6 months on the date you plan to travel, it will need to be renewed in advance. A passport checking service has been provided on the gov.uk website. The gov.uk website also provides specific guidance for UK passport holders wishing to travel after the exit day, in the event of a no deal, as new rules will apply depending on the country that you are visiting. There is also additional guidance to cover travel to the EU by land, sea or rail here. The Government has also said there will be ‘a reasonable transition period’ before new requirements for EU/EEA nationals arriving in the UK will take effect.

Further information is also available on the UKCISA website for students.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

I am planning to drive in the EU after exit day. What should I do?

UK staff planning to drive in the EU after Brexit will need to follow additional requirements. In the event of no deal, it is likely that an international driving permit will be required to drive a car whilst visiting an EU country. Guidance on the gov.uk website is changing regularly, but does provide an email alert service for those needing to drive in the EU immediately after exit day.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What will happen to reciprocal EU/EEA healthcare arrangements after exit day?

If a deal with the UK and EU Government is reached before this date, there will be no changes to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK until June 30, 2021. Even if the UK leaves without a deal, there will be no changes until December 31, 2020. For UK citizens travelling to the EU, the status of the European Health Insurance Card in the event of no deal remaining uncertain. For more information see the EHIC Government webpages.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

* I have students who have to take a year abroad. What do I tell them about participation in the Erasmus+ scheme?

Oxford remains wholly committed to the Erasmus+ programme and to ensuring student exchanges with European partner universities continue.  The University is strongly advocating for continued participation in the Erasmus+ programme, including access to funding contributions for undergraduates’ compulsory years abroad.

Year abroad arrangements will continue to be in place. In the event that funding is not made available through the European Commission or the UK government for Erasmus+ activity, the University has committed to funding exchange activity required as a compulsory part of an undergraduate degree programme on the same basis.

Students have been advised to continue to plan for their year abroad as previously and informed that they will be notified by the University of any developments about participation in the Erasmus+ programme as information is released on the National Agency’s webpage. You may also wish to refer to our dedicated student webpage for details on the wider impact of the result of the UK’s decision to leave European Union membership.

(Updated 17/05/19 | Reviewed 17/05/19)

Will Oxford’s colleges be providing information about college-specific Brexit arrangements?

Individual colleges may be doing so – directly to their Fellows, staff and students - before the end of Hilary Term. They will be drawing on the work of a group formed jointly from the Domestic Bursars Committee and the Estates Bursars Committee of the Conference of Colleges.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)


Pay and purchasing:

I have a certificate from an EU country, confirming my social security contributions are payable in my home country, not the UK. Will it still be valid under no deal?

We do not yet know what the arrangements will be for social security contributions under a no deal scenario. Some overseas authorities have blocked issuing "certificate of coverage" forms (A1 certificates) after exit day in anticipation of a no deal Brexit. Other countries still accept their validity after that date. It is still unclear whether certificates issued to a fuller term will continue to be valid under no deal or will become ineffective on exit day. Either way, there will be action to identify affected individuals and apply for new certificates (if a bilateral agreement with EU allows this). If a certificate of coverage is not applicable or an agreement is not in place, employers may have to prepare to comply with domestic legislation on registrations and withholding of social security contributions. Without access to 'multistate' provisions, it is possible that payroll obligations are triggered in more than one country and that a split in contributions may be needed, depending on the work patterns of individuals.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What are the main implications of a no deal Brexit for purchasing goods and services?

There are immediate risks around a weakening pound making goods and services more expensive, potential delays if more checks are imposed at borders and increased costs if additional import duties are charged on goods supplied from or via the EU. In the medium term there may be performance risks if contracts are dependent on EU workers. The wider economic impacts of Brexit may also make some suppliers unviable or unwilling to supply. Some of these risks apply whether or not the goods are being supplied from or via the EU, or from outside the EU.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

If I am importing goods from the EU, will I incur extra costs on moving the goods to the UK?

We would recommend that departments agree that all goods are purchased DDP (delivery duty paid) which means the supplier will clear the goods at the border and account for the duty and import VAT. This is because when we leave the EU, any movement of goods from the EU into the UK will be considered an import, as goods from outside the EU are now. If the University is the importer of record then we will pay duty and import VAT. It is likely that the import VAT will be accounted for on our VAT return but we are waiting for the Government to confirm this point.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

If I’m purchasing goods and services now, what can I do to mitigate the potential impacts of a no deal Brexit?

In respect of new contracts for goods we recommend you use the University’s preferred delivery term ‘DDP (delivered duty paid) to the point of installation’ which ensures your goods are delivered with all relevant duties paid to the installation point, and that you make use of the University’s preferred freight forwarder DHL. Where possible you should also seek to contract in Sterling (to minimise the potential impacts of exchange rate movements). You should also discuss with the supplier the potential for logistics delays and ensure the supplier takes steps to ensure your goods arrive when needed.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

I have already entered into a purchasing contract and now the supplier is asking for extra payments to cover Brexit. What should I do?

You should refer to the contract to determine who is liable for the risk. It is possible some suppliers will ask for additional payments to cover Brexit-related costs, such as exchange rate movements, additional import duties or increased staff or transport costs. If you need further advice please contact the Purchasing Department or Legal Services Office.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What steps are the Purchasing Department taking with preferred suppliers?

The Purchasing Department is contacting all preferred suppliers of generic items, such as stationary or basic lab equipment, to discuss their contingency plans. We are also undertaking proportionate planning work to prepare for a possible no deal scenario. As this planning develops we will aim to contact relevant departments regarding appropriate action to take in respect of these suppliers. We may also ask those departments to help us validate these contingency plans. Information in respect of specific suppliers will also be published via Shopping News.

(Updated 20/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

I rely on specialist items purchased from third parties to progress my research. What should I do?

We recommend you discuss with your suppliers any risks to the supply of those particular items and ensure you are comfortable with the supplier’s plans to mitigate those risks. These plans may include holding stock items in the UK or prioritising your requirements ahead of other customers. If you are still concerned that your research will be interrupted, you could consider alternative purchasing arrangements, including contacting alternative suppliers whose stock is not dependent on imports from the EU. You might consider bringing forward delivery in advance of exit day.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

What is the likely impact of Brexit on foreign exchange rates and how will this impact on the University?

There is likely to be a significant initial movement in exchange rates whether the UK remains or leaves the EU on exit day. Leaving the EU is expected to weaken Sterling and this would make foreign purchases more costly, unless contracts are expressed in Sterling. The 2016 vote to leave resulted in a 25% movement in exchange rates although this was partially recovered subsequently. This is likely to prompt suppliers to review their future pricing, particularly if prices are expressed internationally in foreign currency. The University has put some hedging in place to protect the balance sheet but it will not be possible to eliminate all of the consequences of FX movements.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

Is the funding provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB) to the University secure?

Yes, this remains a contractual arrangement. The funding is secure and will not be affected by Brexit.

(Updated 01/02/19 | Reviewed 16/05/19)

If you have further questions about purchasing issues, please contact the purchasing team at purchasing@admin.ox.ac.uk.

The University understands that there are other questions for which many staff will want answers. Please do contact the teams and consult the links to further information detailed on this page. The University will update this page as UK and EU negotiations advance.

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