For Staff

Brexit

Updated - 27 June 2017

Overview

On 23 June 2016 the UK voted to leave the European Union, with 51.9 per cent in favour of ‘leave’ and 48.1 per cent for ‘remain’.

Following the vote, the University Vice-Chancellor Sir Alan Langlands issued a statement, in which he stressed that:

  • the University will work tirelessly to ensure that students, academics and our wider group of staff from Europe can continue to study and work at Leeds

  • for at least the next couple of years we do not envisage any material change to the status of current and prospective EU students and staff

  • we will work hard to ensure that students and staff who may be affected by the referendum outcome are properly supported at all times and they will be offered advice by the University on a regular basis as the national policy picture becomes clearer.

More generally, Sir Alan stressed that Leeds is an international university in a City that looks outwards; and that our determination to attract and welcome talent from across Europe and around the world is undiminished.

Read the full text of the statement.

The Vice-Chancellor gave an updated view of the impact of Brexit on the University and the higher education sector in his Leader Column for the March 2017 issue of the Reporter.  You can read the column online.

Current situation

Barring unilateral action from the UK Government, the referendum result does not mean there will be any immediate material change to the University’s participation in EU programmes such as Horizon 2020 and Erasmus+, nor to the immigration status of current and prospective EU students and staff.

Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty foresees a two-year negotiation process between the UK and other Member States, during which time the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU will be decided.

Nonetheless, a vote to leave the EU clearly poses significant challenges for UK universities, creates uncertainty and raises many important questions that require answers.

The University of Leeds will work with partners including other higher education institutions, Universities UK and The Russell Group to seek clarification on key questions from Government, the European Commission and other relevant agencies. It is likely that it will take time for some of the more difficult questions to be answered, particularly those that require high level political decision making and those that are dependent on the exit negotiations or negotiations of any new (non-member) arrangement between the UK and EU. 

The University is committed to ensuring that staff are updated on developments directly affecting them. Updates will be placed on this page of For Staff.

Below is further information on the position as we understand it based on statements by Government and other agencies in relation to two of the most pressing issues for staff – research funding and the immigration status of EU staff.  If you have questions relating to the referendum and its impact on the University, please email internalcomms@leeds.ac.uk and we will do our best to answer them.

EU staff – immigration status

The University currently employs 690 staff from the EU and they are integral to our current and future success, as well as being a valued part of the community.

The immigration status of EU staff has not changed as a result of the referendum vote. The University will work with others in the sector to ensure that we continue to be able to recruit and retain world-leading academics, researchers, professional and support staff under any future immigration policy.

The ability of students and staff to be able to move freely throughout Europe has been key to our academic success and the University will do all we can to limit any impact on this resulting from the referendum vote.

Issues on which the University and our partners will seek clarification include:

  • whether once the UK leaves the EU, EU staff currently working at the University will be granted the right to remain in the UK permanently

  • whether visas will be required for EU staff to work at UK universities and, if so, on what terms

  • when any new visa requirement would come in to place, and what transition arrangements are foreseen.

Read the government's 11 July 2016 statement on the status of EU nationals in the UK.

Update 27 June 2017

Now that EU exit negotiations have started, the government has published information about the status of EU citizens living in the UK  (where you can sign up for email updates) and a policy paper setting out its offer to EU citizens and their families in the UK.

At this stage, the UK remains a full member of the EU and all the rights and obligations of EU membership remain in place until the withdrawal process is complete. This means that there will be no change to the rights and status of EU citizens living in the UK, nor UK nationals living in the EU, during this time.  

For more information and advice about recruitment, immigration status and other HR issues, please contact Caroline Langham (34150).

Research funding

Updated - 19 July 2017

While Leeds is not as dependent on European research funding as some universities, it is nonetheless of great importance to the work of the University, accounting for nearly 16% of our research income.

The UK’s status as a full participating member of the Horizon 2020 programme has not yet changed as a result of the referendum vote and it is our understanding that existing projects, project grants and contracts will be honoured. More specifically:

  • existing FP7 and H2020 projects will not be affected. Any expenditure to date is still valid and no UK partner in an existing project will be forced to depart
  • the August 2016 statement by the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed that projects funded from applications made while the UK is still an EU Member State will not be jeopardised, with funding underwritten by the UK Government if not honoured by the European Commission. This was reiterated in July 2017 by Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation
  • H2020 applications should therefore go ahead as planned. In his July 2017 speech, Jo Johnson also stated that 2-stage applications with a 1st Stage deadline prior to Brexit will also be underwritten, even if funded from a subsequent stage 2 application that falls after Brexit
  • evaluation of projects from the UK/with UK partners has been unaffected by the decision. The H2020 evaluation process is genuinely impartial and robust and is overseen by independent observers. Evaluation briefings are all preceded with a section on ensuring that Brexit is not a consideration for any evaluation.  The University has received several awards post-referendum, including a record number of Marie Curie Fellowships and 4 prestigious ERC Fellowships
  • the EU Team is working closely with Universities UK International, UKRO and the European Commission and updated advice on prospective and funded projects will be circulated
  • the UK will continue to have a say in the development of the next Framework Programme ("FP9") until the official exit of the UK from the European Union.  The exact nature of the UK's access to the next funding programme will depend on wider Brexit negotiations. Information will be updated as available, though little is likely to be available until at least after the FP9 public consultation in early 2018.

Students

A section of the University’s main website has been created, dedicated to informing current and prospective students on issues affecting them. This includes a letter sent to all postgraduate researchers by Professor Claire Honess, Dean of Postgraduate Studies.

While the University endeavours to keep this information as up to date as possible, it cannot be held liable for any inaccuracies. For the latest information from the government, please visit the Department for Exiting the European Union website. Regularly updated Brexit FAQs for universities and students are also available on the Universities UK website.

Updates

Immigration information session - 20 July

The presentation slides from the EU information session on 20 July are now available to download.

Immigration information session for all staff - 12 July

Emma Brooksbank from Simpson Millar Solicitors will give an update to staff on EU immigration matters in the light of Brexit and the recent offer by the government relating to EU citizens in the UK.

Government issues proposal for EU citizens living in the UK: key questions answered

Immigration legal expert Emma Brooksbank answers key questions about what the government's new proposals for EU citizens means for anyone living, working or studying in the UK.

Immigration matters: one-to-one advice sessions

As part of the support that the University is offering staff on immigration matters, free 30 min one-to-one legal advice sessions will be held on 20 July 2017. Book now.

Government information on the status of EU citizens in the UK

The government has published information about the status of EU citizens living in the UK and you can sign up for email updates.

Support for staff on immigration matters

The University is introducing a package of measures aimed at supporting colleagues who may have queries or concerns about immigration matters.

Immigration information sessions

You can now download the presentation slides from the immigration information session held on Thursday 27 April 2017.

Funding support for EU students applying for 2018/19

The government has confirmed that EU students will continue to remain eligible for undergraduate, Masters, postgraduate and advanced learner financial support in the academic year 2018 to 2019.

Brexit: Working together

The Vice-Chancellor's Leader Column from the forthcoming Reporter.

EU funding update from our RIS team

Find out more about the post-Brexit EU research funding landscape from our EU Research Development team.

Browse Brexit by date