The Brexit situation remains uncertain and fluid, with a 'no deal' Brexit on 31 October now a possibility. The University of East London is a truly global organisation, and our students are the lifeblood of our community. We are extremely privileged that our students from Europe and across the world have chosen to make the University of East London their University, and London their home.
We want to reassure you that the University and its Executive Board continues to carefully assess, and is taking proactive steps to help mitigate, the impact of Brexit on our students and staff. This will continue as a priority over the coming weeks, months and years.
We will continue to monitor what is a fast moving and changing situation and it is vitally important that we continue to provide a high-quality student experience throughout this difficult period. If you would like advice or to receive information about the support available, please contact your Course Leader and/or Head of School.
What impact will Brexit have on fees?
What will happen to the transitional proposals?
The Government has stated that, in the case of a 'no-deal' scenario, free movement will end on 31 October 2019 and is suggesting that the 'no-deal' transitional proposals put together by the May Government for EU nationals entering the UK from 1 November 2019 (ie effectively continuing free movement for up to a three-month period and applications for European Temporary Leave to Remain for a stay of more than three months) will not be implemented.
There is no clarity at this stage on the detail of any alternative arrangements, so we will continue to monitor the situation closely.
Travel and a no-deal Brexit
Will there be travel disruption if the UK leaves the EU on 31 October?
With the increased prospect of leaving the European Union without any form of agreement comes the increased risk of disruption to travel. We have reviewed the position internally and sought advice from our external lawyers and our insurance brokers. The general advice is to avoid steps to travel in the immediate period of time surrounding the UK's likely departure date of 31 October. Our insurers advise that disruption is highly likely at ports, airports, etc. Whilst we are providing this advice in relation to travel for work and studies, the risks do of course apply equally to travel for personal reasons and you will no doubt be thinking of this when you make private travel arrangements. For many people, this coincides with half-term week making this more problematic.
The University's travel insurance does not cover loss caused by, for example, disinclination to travel. Please therefore consider the likely disruption before booking travel as, once paid for, the cost is not insured if you subsequently decide not to travel. Further, our policy (which is standard across our sector) contains exclusions for financial failure of transport/accommodation providers and government regulations (that might prohibit travel for example). In relation to the former, it is the view of our insurers that the individual providers would be responsible. So, for example, if an airline needed to apply for a licence to operate a flight, it would need to refund any fares taken in the absence of the licence. In relation to government regulations, the insurers point out that it is the absence of regulations that make a 'no deal' exit problematic so this exclusion may not apply.
In relation to air travel, CAA rules on delays and compensation continue to apply post-Brexit and can be found here. The UEL travel policy could apply to related costs (eg accommodation, conference fees) in the absence of any warnings in place at the time of booking.
In relation to travel to the EU, members of staff and students travelling for studies should ensure they have at least six months remaining on their passports from the date of arrival. Any additional months granted on renewal of a passport prior to expiry are disregarded for this purpose. Cancellation of a trip is not insured if the reason is for having an incorrect passport.
The University's travel policy includes personal accident cover, which provides for limited cover for medical expenses and medical fees for any period of hospitalisation. As with most insurance policies, the amount of cover is limited. For travel to the EU, UK citizens have hitherto relied upon the EHIC scheme which enables free healthcare across the region. One of the risks of 'no deal' Brexit is that this scheme may not apply on and from 1 November 2019. In those circumstances, the limited insurance cover will still apply but the EHIC scheme would not stand behind it. We will therefore carry out a risk assessment of travel to the EU on the same basis that we require currently for outside the EU with effect from 1 November 2019. Having said that, the general advice above remains that travel to the EU should be avoided around the time of the intended date for the UK's departure.
What if my course involves overseas travel?
Your course may involve trips or site visits overseas as part of your research or placements. Please take every step to avoid travel around 31 October 2019, as travel disruption is highly likely.
I am a UK citizen. Will I need a visa to travel to the EU?
Even in the event of no deal, UK nationals will still be able to visit the EU without a visa for up to 90 days. For stays over 90 days, you should check the published information on the relevant Foreign Office travel advice page.
In the event of no deal, from 2021 UK citizens will need to pay a fee (of around €7) for a visa exemption, called the ETIAS scheme. This is part of a new electronic travel authorisation system applying to all "third country" visitors to the EU, similar to the US ESTA regime.
Non-British/non-EU passport holders will continue to need a Schengen visa to travel to Europe.
I am an EU citizen. If I travel abroad, will I need a visa to return to the UK?
For EU citizens with settled or pre-settled status, you will be able to travel in and out of the UK without requiring a visa. Our current understanding is that EU citizens without settled or pre-settled status should be allowed to travel in and out of the UK up until 31 December 2020, but we strongly advise checking the latest information before making any travel arrangements.
If you are an Irish citizen you'll be able to enter the UK without a visa, as you can now.
Please see the government's advice on 'Visiting the UK after Brexit' for more information.
Studying at UEL
I am an EU student currently enrolled in a course at the University of East London. How will Brexit affect the remainder of my studies?
EU nationals who are already receiving student loans from the Student Loans Company (SLC) will continue to receive funding until they finish their course. They will remain eligible for home fees and grants for the duration of their course.
In order to continue living, studying and working in the UK after 30 June 2021 (if the UK makes a deal) you will need to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme.
What about Erasmus and Horizon?
It has been confirmed that there will be no immediate changes to how UK universities engage in EU initiatives such as the Erasmus Programme and Horizon 2020.
How will Brexit affect prospective University of East London students living in Europe?
The UK government has confirmed that students from the EU starting a course in the 2019–20 or 2020–21 academic year will continue to have access to the same fees and funding opportunities as UK students throughout the duration of their studies.
Rights to continue living, working and studying
I am a European Union citizen living in the United Kingdom. What do I need to do so I can stay here after Brexit?
If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, the rights and status of EU, EEA (European Economic Area) and Swiss citizens living in the UK will remain the same until 30 June 2021. If you wish to continue living in the UK after this date, you must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline to apply is 30 June 2021.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal, you will need to be living in the UK before it leaves the EU to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. The deadline for applying in this case will be 31 December 2020.
If your application is successful, you will be given either settled or pre-settled status. The status you receive depends on how long you have been living in the UK when you apply.
You may be able to stay in the UK without applying – for example, if you are an Irish citizen or have indefinite leave to remain.
For more information visit the government's EU Settlement Scheme website.
What is 'settled' status?
Settled status is usually given to people who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal) and who have lived in the UK for a continuous five-year period (you must have spent at least six months of each of those five years here, with some exceptions). With settled status, you will be able to stay in the UK for as long as you like and if you are eligible you may be able to apply for British citizenship.
What is 'pre-settled' status?
Pre-settled status is usually given to people who started living in the UK by 31 December 2020 (or by the date the UK leaves the EU without a deal) but who do not have five years' continuous residence in the UK on application. Pre-settled status will allow you to stay in the UK for a further 5 years. Once you have obtained five years' continuous residence you can apply for settled status.
What are my rights with settled or pre-settled status?
With both settled and pre-settled status, you will be able to work in the UK; use the NHS; enrol in education or continue studying; apply for public funds such as benefits and pensions; and travel in and out of the UK.
Who should apply to the EU Settlement Scheme?
You are eligible to apply if:
- You are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
- You are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, but your family member is
- You were born in the UK, but are not a British citizen. You can check your status here.
- You have a UK 'permanent residence document'
- You are a family member of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who does not need to apply, including if they are from Ireland
- You are an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen with a British citizen family member
If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you may still be able to apply if:
- You used to have an EU, EEA or Swiss family member living in the UK, but you have separated or they have died
- You are a family member of a British citizen who also has EU, EEA or Swiss citizenship and who lived in the UK as an EU, EEA, or Swiss citizen before gaining British citizenship
- You are the primary carer of a British, EU, EEA or Swiss citizen
- You are the child of an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who used to live and work in the UK or are the child's primary carer
- Anyone with indefinite leave to enter the UK and indefinite leave to remain in the UK status or who has British or Irish or dual citizenship is not required to apply.
You can find more information here.
How do I apply?
Applicants will need to provide:
Proof of identity via a valid passport or national identity card, as well as a digital photo of your face. If you are not an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen, you can provide a passport, biometric residence card or biometric residence permit. If you do not have any of these items, you may be able to use alternative evidence.
Proof of continuous residence in the UK. This may be done via a National Insurance Number, which allows the government to do an automated check of your residence based on tax records and certain benefit records. You may also be able to provide other types of evidence.
When should I apply?
Given the current political uncertainty, if you and your family members have not yet applied under the Settlement Scheme, it would be prudent to do so prior to 31 October 2019, notwithstanding that you have until 31 December 2020 to do so. This means you and your family members will be 'in the system' and this may help on UK entry clearance in a 'no-deal' scenario.
How long does the application process take?
The Home Office has said that they would normally expect to respond to settled status applications within two weeks. However, given the current circumstances and likely backlog, this may well take much longer.
Do I need to pay a fee?
There is no fee. Anyone who previously paid a fee will be reimbursed.
What if my application is unsuccessful?
If you apply and are unsuccessful you should contact the Home Office and ask for an administrative review. You may not appeal an unsuccessful application decision but you can make a new application. If you do submit a new application, make sure that all your evidence is submitted correctly and in full.
What happens if I don't apply for the EU Settlement Scheme?
If you do not apply by the deadline then you could be regarded as living in the country illegally. Under UK law, EU citizens who do not apply for settled or pre-settled status by the applicable deadline may be liable to deportation. The best advice is to ensure that you apply for the EU Settlement Scheme prior to the deadline.
Where can I get more advice?
For more advice visit the government's website.