Brexit Q&As for Staff

Common questions answered on the implications of Brexit for staff.


If you are unable to find a response below, have any further queries or wish to communicate to us about Brexit and how Ulster University can better support you, please email brexit@ulster.ac.uk.

Please note that the answers below will be updated on a regular basis and a number of queries are currently in the process of being researched and will be added once confirmation received.

The UK Government triggered Article 50 on 29th March 2017, which provided a two year period, until 11pm on Friday 29th March 2019 to agree a withdrawal agreement between the UK and EU.  In April 2019, this was extended to Thursday 31st October 2019.  

The below answers initially made reference to the date the UK leaves the EU which was initially Friday 29th March 2019, however this is now replaced in the responses below by the term 'exit day' which is now Thursday 31st October 2019.

  • Will Ulster University continue to employ EU national staff?

    Yes.  EU staff make a vital contribution to Ulster University’s world class teaching and research excellence across our campuses and communities. Our strong talent base from across the EU enables us to remain a global-leading University providing excellent research, education and innovation.

  • I am an EU citizen living in the UK, what will my immigration status be after the UK leaves the EU?

    Guidance issued by the Home Office, sets out that if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, freedom of movement will end on exit day or shortly thereafter (subject to parliamentary approval).

    EU nationals who already live in the UK or are resident in the UK prior to date that the UK leaves the EU the will be able to apply for ‘settled or pre-settled status’. This will enable them to live, work and study in the UK for as long as they like.   The settlement scheme will open fully on 30th March 2019 and close on 30th June 2021 or on the 31st December 2020 if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

    An online video produced by Free Movement provides useful guidance on the Settlement Scheme Application process.

    A requirement of the Settlement/Pre-Settlement Application Scheme is that applicants must use the EU Exit: ID Document Check app for mobile phones to confirm their identity. Currently this app is only compatible with updated Android devices.  If you do not have access to an Android device, you have the option to either post away your passport or identification documents or have them scanned to be processed at a local centre.  There is one centre in Northern Ireland located in Belfast.

    UKVI Premium Service Centre  
    Law Society House  
    90-106 Victoria Street,  
    Belfast  
    County Antrim  
    BT1 3GN

    Email europassback@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk to book an appointment to have your documentation scanned at Belfast UKVI Premium Service Centre.

    EU Settlement Scheme: Applicant Information has stated that EU citizens applying to the Scheme from 30 March 2019, will be able to send their passport or other identity documents by post if they do not wish to or cannot use the EU Exit ID Document Check App.

    The following link provides a list of documentation which the UK Government will accept as proof of UK residence. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-evidence-of-uk-residence

    The Gov.UK issued guidance also states that from 9 April 2019, EU citizens and certain family members will be able to apply to the Scheme from outside the UK, free of charge and based on their previous residence in the UK, without needing to travel here to make an online application.  For details on this and further updates:  Gov.UK - EU Settlement Scheme:  Applying from Outside of the UK

    It is advisable that for updates concerning the scheme, including detailed information on how to apply once it is fully live, will be posted here.

    On 30th March 2019, the UK Government updated information on Assisted Digital support to use the EU Settlement Scheme online application form if you’re in the UK and do not have the appropriate access, skills or confidence to complete the form. This includes details of the locations and home visits for the Assisted Digital Support Service.

    In January 2019, the UK Prime Minister announced that settled status will be free for all applicants once the application scheme is fully opened on 30 March 2019.  The Home Office have also now confirmed that those who have paid an application fee during the test phases will receive a refund after 30 March 2019.  If you are due a refund you do not need to do anything, the Home Office will automatically refund the fee to the card that was used to pay it. An email will be sent to the contact address provided in the application, confirming when the refund has been processed.

    EU citizens who have been in the UK for fewer than five years by the date that the UK leaves the EU can apply for pre-settled status until they reach the five-year residency requirement. Those EU nationals with permanent residence will be able to convert their permanent residence status into the new settled status free of charge, subject only to verification of identity, a criminality and security check and proof of ongoing residence.

    According to UK Government Guidance, Irish citizens will continue to have the right to enter and live in the UK. If there is no deal, these rights will continue under domestic Common Travel Area arrangements.

    Even though you do not need to apply for settled status yourself, if you have family members from outside of the UK and Ireland they will need to apply.

    The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have also issued Guidance for those living in the Republic of Ireland.

    Citizens Information Ireland have also issued guidance on Brexit and the Common Travel Area

    You will be told in your decision letter if you can apply for the decision on your application under the EU Settlement Scheme to be reviewed. This is called an administrative review.  Updated details are on the Gov.UK website pages.

  • I am an EU passport holder who will be moving to the UK after the date in which the UK officially leaves the EU what will my immigration status be?

    According to UK Government Guidance, EU nationals who enter the UK on or after exit day will be given immigration permission to enter the UK and stay for up to three months.  EU nationals wishing to stay for longer than three months will need to apply to the Home Office for further leave (permission) to remain within the three month-period.

    Leave to remain will be granted for 36 months and will include permission to work and study.  EU nationals wishing to stay longer-term will need to apply in due course under the future border and immigration system arrangements as stated in the Guidance on the UK Government’s future skills-based immigration system

    There will be transitional arrangements in place until 31st December 2020 before the UK will be implementing the new skills-based immigration system

    Advice on immigration in the case of the UK leaving the EU with no deal was issued jointly by the Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration on 29th January 2020.

    Universities UK (UUK), of which Ulster University is a member, is calling on the UK Government to use the upcoming Immigration Bill to ensure that future academic staff and student mobility is not impeded by unnecessary bureaucracy regardless of the immigration status of EU/EEA nationals after the UK has left the EU.

  • I often have to drive between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, will I have to make any alternative arrangements before travelling?

    For UK driving licence holders; the Association of British Insurers (ABI) issued guidance (published on 17th January 2019), that if you live in Northern Ireland and drive to the Republic of Ireland or plan to drive your vehicle to mainland Europe after a no-deal Brexit you will need to obtain a Green Card to prove that you are insured.  This can be acquired by contacting your insurer prior to travel.

    Both businesses and individuals are recommended to obtain the Green Card at least one month before intending to travel (after exit day).  Some motor insurance companies have automatically sent this out to their clients.

    The Green Card is an additional document to your UK driving license which will be also be required during travel.

    For Republic of Ireland driving licence holders, the Motor Insurers Bureau of Ireland has issued guidance on Green Cards in the case of a no deal Brexit.

    On 13th March 2019, RTE News reported that the Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, told the Dáil that there will be a grace period for drivers crossing the Northern Ireland/Republic of Ireland border without a Green Card in the event of a no-deal Brexit.  However, there is as yet no legislation or policy announcement to formalise this as yet.

    If you are driving for work in the Republic of Ireland, you will require a valid Green Card in order to ensure mileage claims can be processed.

    Government guidance advises that if you hold a UK driving licence you should not need an IDP to drive in the Republic of Ireland from exit day as the Republic of Ireland does not currently require IDPs to be held by driving licence holders from non-EU countries.

  • What arrangements will I have to make before driving in other EU countries (except Republic of Ireland) if I have a UK driving licence?

    In the event of no deal being agreed, UK drivers who are taking their car to, or driving in EU countries (except for the Republic of Ireland), may require additional documentation alongside their UK driving license.  Click below for guidance on International Driving Permits (IDPs).

    On 28 March 2019, the type of international driving permit (IDP) that some countries outside the EU and EEA changed.

    UK driving licence holders now need a 1969 IDP to drive in Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, Cuba, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini, French Polynesia, Georgia, Guyana, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Liberia, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Niger, North Macedonia, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zimbabwe.

    UK Government:  International Driving Permits for UK drivers from 28 March 2019 for updates.

  • On University business, I travel by air to or through EU countries, how will I go about making and confirming travel arrangements for these trips?

    Ulster University has long-standing arrangements for international (third county) travel to  the EU  in place. Post-Brexit; these will be the arrangements that UK  travellers will travel under.

    The University uses a  provider service for travel arrangements. Ongoing procurement of this service will be subject to fitness for a future post-Brexit context and business needs.

    **Universities UK (UUK) advise to try to avoid travel for a few days before and after the date that the UK leaves the EU in case of confusion or delays at airports**

    In the event of an emergency while travelling during the period of exit day please contact the University's travel providers on +44 (0)20 7843 9602 where you will be put in touch with a Key Travel consultant.

  • As a UK passport holder, where can I find further information on travelling to EU countries the date the UK leaves the EU, if there is no deal?

    The UK Government’s current guidance on travelling under UK passports to EU countries is that UK nationals will need a minimum of six months remaining on their existing passport prior to travelling to Europe.  A passport checking service has been provided on the gov.uk website.

    The UK Government has also issued specific guidance for UK passport holders wishing to travel after 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.

    The University uses a  provider service for travel arrangements. Ongoing procurement of this service will be subject to fitness for a future post-Brexit context and business needs.

  • What is the status of Erasmus+ ?

    What is the status of Erasmus+ for Ulster Students?

    Ulster University values and is committed to student mobility to Europe and to continued co-operation with European partners and with partners from across the world.

    There are ongoing updates to the Erasmus+ programme.  We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to provide further updates as soon as more information becomes available.

    Ulster University would also encourage students to visit our  Go Global webpage, which offers a range of study abroad programmes that offer a flexible range of options and destinations to enhance your study.

    Outside of the Erasmus+ programme which is funded by the EU, the University has a number of  outward mobility programmes for which students can apply.

    Update for students on exchange in Academic Year 2019/20

    The University has now received confirmation of Erasmus+ funding for 2019/20. This follows the receipt of the 2019 Erasmus+ funding contract between the National Agency and the European Commission, and its review and approval by the Department for Education.

    It is important that any students intending to undertake an Erasmus+ placement in Academic Year 2019/20 complete the mobility application form. In addition to this, all students will need to complete the 2019/20 Erasmus+ documentation. Details of this and the grant rates can be accessed on the Go Global webpages.

    The Global Mobility team will be contacting all students who have submitted an application form directly outlining the next steps.

    As always, please contact the team directly if you have any questions (erasmus@ulster.ac.uk).

    A No Deal Scenario

    On the 10 April 2019, the European Council agreed to an extension to Article 50 until 31 October 2019, with a review of this process scheduled for June 2019. During the extension, the United Kingdom will remain a Member State with full rights and obligations and ‘must act in a constructive and responsible manner throughout the extension in accordance with the duty of sincere cooperation’.

    There are currently two possible scenarios for the participation of the UK in Erasmus+ until 2020, depending on Brexit negotiations and outcomes:

    1. The UK and the EU reach a deal, which would enable the UK to stay in Erasmus+ until the end of the current programme in 2020.

    This would mean that there are no changes to Erasmus+ in Academic Year 2019/20 and student mobility can go ahead without disruption.

    2. The UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK’s ability to continue participating in Erasmus+ from exit day would be uncertain.

    Leaving the EU without a deal is now unlikely to have a financial impact on students planning to go abroad in Academic Year 2019/20. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK government announced that it would underwrite a guarantee for EU funded projects before the UK leaves the EU in October. Alongside this, the University will be considering what further actions can be taken to mitigate the risks for students who will be on their Erasmus+ placement at the time the UK leaves the EU.

    Erasmus+ partnerships with European institutions

    It is still unclear if Erasmus+ inter-institutional agreements with European partner universities, which need to be in place to undertake a period of study abroad, would still be valid in a no-deal scenario. Ulster University will be contacting partner institutions with a view to signing additional agreements or securing written confirmation which would be valid in case of a no-deal and have received positive responses from a number. However, we are not able to guarantee that all our existing Erasmus+ partners will continue to work with us which may lead to a reduced list of potential destinations.

    Update for students on exchange in Academic Year 2020/21

    Students should continue planning their mobility period if they are intending to go abroad in Academic Year 2020/21.

    There are currently two possible scenarios for the participation of the UK in Erasmus+ until 2020, depending on Brexit negotiations and outcomes:

    1. The UK and the EU reach a deal, which would enable the UK to stay in Erasmus+ until the end of the current programme in 2020.

    This would mean that there are no changes to Erasmus+ in Academic Year 2020/21 and student mobility can go ahead without disruption.

    2. The UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK’s ability to continue participating in Erasmus+ from exit day would be uncertain.

    Leaving the EU without a deal may have an impact on students planning to go abroad in Academic Year 2020/21. In the event of a no-deal Brexit, the UK Government as well as the University is considering the potential impact and  is taking  actions to mitigate the risks but students should plan for the likelihood that no additional European Commission funding will be available and the implication is that there would also be no UK Government funding to replace Erasmus+.

    Erasmus+ Successor Programme

    The current Erasmus+ Programme ends on 31st December 2020 (covering the full academic year 2020/21 for exchanges), and it will be succeeded by a new iteration of the programme. This new programme features a pathway for participation for third countries, which leaves the door open for the UK to continue its participation in Erasmus+ beyond Brexit. The UK Government has indicated that it would like to explore this option of associating to the Erasmus+ successor programme with the EU, but there is currently no guarantee that the UK will continue to be part of the programme.

    There are two possible scenarios:

    1. The UK Government secures UK participation in the Erasmus+ successor programme

    In this scenario Erasmus+ exchanges would work in a very similar way as they do now, with a few changes that would be implemented as part of the new programme and which are not confirmed at this point. It is expected that more funding will be available and that the new programme will be more flexible.

    2. The UK Government does not secure UK participation in the Erasmus+ successor programme

    Ulster University is committed to continue working with European partners. It is possible to set-up exchange partnerships with European partners outside of the Erasmus+ Programme, just in the same way as universities already do with institutions outside of the EU. However, there would not be any guaranteed funding at this point, but recommendations have been made to the UK Government to set-up a national mobility scheme that includes funding opportunities if the UK is not going to secure participation in the Erasmus+ successor programme.

    What is the status of Erasmus+ for incoming students?

    Ulster University is currently participating in the Erasmus+ programme, and will continue to do so until further notice.

    Students of any nationality who have been nominated, or are about to be nominated to study at Ulster University through the Erasmus+ programme for 2019/20 will continue to be eligible for Erasmus+ grants from their home institution for as long as the UK remains part of the Erasmus+ programme.

    The EU has given the UK an extension to the Article 50 period for the negotiation of Brexit until 31 October 2019. Although there is still uncertainty about the eventual terms of the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the agreed extension has reduced the risk of the UK leaving the EU without a deal before 31 October 2019.

    Provided the UK Government reaches an agreement with the EU that UK universities can participate in Erasmus+ projects after Brexit, students will be able to come to Ulster University through the Erasmus+ programme until the end of the academic year 2020/21.

    In the event of a Brexit no deal scenario, the UK may be forced to withdraw from the Erasmus+ programme. This could have implications on the funding available to incoming students through their home institutions and is something incoming students should check with their home institution and their National Agency.

    EU, EEA and Swiss nationals studying at Ulster as part of the Erasmus+ programme will not require any kind of immigration permission to do so for as long as the UK remains in the EU. This will continue to apply following the UK's exit from the EU on or before 31 October 2019 provided an agreed deal between the EU and UK includes a transitional/implementation period.

    We appreciate that, given the general uncertainty caused by Brexit, students may have concerns about their Erasmus+ exchange and how this may be impacted by the UK’s planned departure from the EU. We would like to encourage students to continue planning and preparing for study at Ulster. The European Parliament and the Council Regulation (adopted on 19 March) ensures that students who are studying on an Erasmus+ funded programme on the day the UK leaves the EU will not see their mobility period interrupted. Therefore if students will be currently studying at Ulster on the Erasmus+ programme when the UK leaves the EU, then they will be able to complete their study placement here but will need to confirm funding arrangements with their home institution.

    We would also like to provide reassurance of the University’s commitment to support EU students coming to Northern Ireland. We would like to emphasise that Ulster University is committed to continuing exchanging students regardless of the outcome of the negotiations between the EU and the UK.

  • Is there a contact email address for any further queries relating to Brexit and its impact on employment at Ulster University? 

    Yes, enquiries can be sent to hr@ulster.ac.uk

  • I have experienced problems obtaining settled status/pre-settled status - is there specialist legal advice on my immigration status available?

    Yes. In the first instance, please direct any enquiries to Office of University Secretary who will discuss your concerns with you and explore the next steps available to you.

  • Is there support available for Ulster University staff feeling anxious during this period of uncertainty?

    If you are feeling anxious access the staff counselling services as they may be able to provide some additional support.

    The Inspire service is available to all Ulster University staff 24/7 for confidential and immediate support on 0808 800 0002.  Inspire also provide other useful resources that are immediately available to staff via their website at inspirewellbeing.org/workplaces.

    Details on further support resources for Ulster University staff is also available at https://www.ulster.ac.uk/mindyourmood/staff-resources

  • As an EU/EEA national, I currently use a non-UK issued driving licence, how will this be effected by Brexit?

    UK Government Guidance has stated that from exit day, in the event that there is no deal, arrangements for EU and EEA licence holders who are visiting or living in the UK will not change.  Additionally, visitors with EU and EEA driving licences will not need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to drive in the UK.

    If you are considering changing your current driving licence to a Northern Ireland driving licence, please visit the NIDirect webpage for further information on how to go about this.

    Please note that there has been an increase in unofficial websites offering online driver licensing. You cannot apply for a Northern Ireland driving licence online.

  • I am an EU national applying for Settled or Pre-Settled Status, however I have travelled home and have plans to go on holiday post-Brexit, what impact will this have on my application?

      This will depend on the duration of your stay.

      To be eligible for settled status, UK Government's Guidance outlines that this requires that you lived in the UK for at least six months in any 12 month period for five consecutive years prior to exit day. You’ll need to provide proof of this when you apply.  If you have not lived in the UK for five consecutive years you may still be eligible for pre-settled status.

  • Will collaborative teaching and staff/student exchange programmes with EU universities continue after Brexit?

    Collaboration across world-class research, innovation and teaching makes an impact on organisations, local economies and student and staff opportunity.  In the context of Brexit, these links remain vital, fostering a dynamic exchange of talent and ideas through staff and student mobility.  Ulster University enjoys longstanding, mutually beneficial partnerships providing rich student exchanges, innovation or research partnerships.

    Ulster University's Vice-Chancellor Professor Paddy Nixon is continually lobbying at the highest level on issues affecting the university, including the recruitment of EU staff and students, research and impact funding and student mobility opportunities and has written to over 300 of our EU partners directly on our desire to continue to build on these well-established and successful relationships.

    We echo the calls across higher education for sufficient funding and the minimising of regulatory barriers post Brexit in order that we can sustain our existing links and seek new ways to work in partnership in the future for the benefit of students, our universities and wider society.

  • I am a member of staff travelling by air around the date that the UK will formally leave the EU, is there any guidance in relation to air carriers or border/security control?  

    In terms of airline carriers; the University's travel provider service has advised that they have no indication, at this stage, that there will be any disruption from carriers as, even if there is 'no deal' airlines have been provided with additional time to ensure they are EU ready.

    However, there is no clarity on possible disruptions at borders or on security at airports, and our travel provider service is still awaiting advice.  We will provide updates as they come through.

  • Will there be access to healthcare for EU nationals living in the UK following Brexit?

    In March 2019, the UK Government issued guidance on healthcare for EU and EFTA nationals living in the UK.

    In the event of no deal, the UK Government has confirmed it will protect the rights of EU Citizens living in the UK, lawfully, on exit day, and have specified that this includes entitlements to NHS Cover, which will ensure that can continue to use NHS services as have done so.

    The UK Government has proposed to the EU and EFTA member states to maintain existing healthcare arrangements in a no deal scenario until December 2020.

    For EU nationals considering moving to the UK after it leaves the EU in a no deal situation, it is advised that details of healthcare cover be checked beforehand with respective healthcare insurance authorities on what has been agreed.

    For further information, visit Gov.UK:  Overseas visitor charging:  Guidance for NHS service providers on updates to regulations.

  • Where can I find advice for UK travellers on healthcare cover in the event of a no deal Brexit?

    The Department of Health and Social Care has issued Healthcare advice for UK Travellers in the event of a no-deal EU Exit.

    The Department's Guidance states that all UK nationals planning to reside in, work or study in EU or EFTA states are strongly advised to check country-specific guidance that has been issued on Gov.UK (https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice). and NHS.UK (https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/healthcare-abroad/healthcare-when-travelling-abroad/) about healthcare arrangements if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

  • What is the position for frontier workers following Brexit?

    See below the Home Office's response to Lady Sylvia Harmon MP's written parliamentary question (240975):

    Question:
    To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he is taking to protect the rights of frontier workers who are citizens of EU countries but who are not Irish or UK citizens, who live in Ireland but travel to work in Northern Ireland each day; and if he will publish guidance on their rights in the event the UK leaves the EU (a) with a deal and (b) without a deal. (240975)

    Answer:
    Whether the UK leaves the EU with or without a deal, the UK has committed to protect the position of EEA citizens (including Swiss citizens) who, at the specified date, work in the UK but live in another country (‘frontier workers’). This includes EEA citizens who live in Ireland and work in Northern Ireland.

    The draft Withdrawal Agreement with the EU protects the rights of those who are frontier workers at the end of the implementation period, for as long as they continue to be frontier workers in the host state. After the end of the implementation period, they will be subject to a requirement to obtain a document to evidence their right to enter and work in the UK as a frontier worker, in line with Article 26 of the draft Withdrawal Agreement.

    If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, we will protect the position of those who are frontier workers at exit date. Until free movement is ended by the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill, they will be able to enter the UK as now. Once free movement ends, they will be able to obtain a separate UK immigration status which will allow them to continue frontier working in the UK after exit.

    Further information about how frontier workers can apply for a frontier worker document in a deal scenario, or for frontier worker status in a no-deal scenario, will be published in due course.

    In either a deal or no-deal scenario, frontier workers may be resident in the UK for sufficient periods during their work here to be eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme if they wish to do so. However, they are not required to do so, as they will be able to apply for a frontier worker document or status if they wish to continue working in the UK but living in another country

  • How will leaving the EU affect mobile phone roaming in EU and EEA Countries following Brexit?

    On 9th April 2019, the UK Government issued guidance on how businesses and consumers would be affected by changes to mobile roaming charges for when the UK leaves the EU.

    The Guidance advises that in the case of a deal being agreed; surcharge-free roaming would continue to be guaranteed during the Implementation Period. Following the Implementation Period the arrangements for roaming, including surcharges, would depend on the outcome of the negotiations on the Future Economic Partnership.

    If the UK leaves the EU with no deal; the costs that EU mobile operators would be able to charge UK operators for providing roaming services would no longer be regulated after exit day. This would mean that surcharge-free roaming when you travel to the EU could no longer be guaranteed. This would include employees of UK companies travelling in the EU for business.

  • As an Irish Passport Holder, where can I find out further information?

    The Irish Government has published guidance online for Irish citizens living in Northern Ireland on a range of issues including access to healthcare, cross-border travel and rights which can be accessed at the following link:  https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/060fdf-northern-ireland/

    A UK exit from the EU does not change anything regarding entitlement to Irish citizenship.  Further information is available on the Irish Government's Department of Foreign Affairs' website at https://www.dfa.ie/passports-citizenship/citizenship/