Human Resources

Information for Staff about Brexit


The UK’s EU referendum with the vote to leave the EU has major implications for the University. This webpage has been established to provide information and support to staff on the Brexit process as we learn more from the UK Government’s negotiations with the EU. 

Settlement Scheme for EU Citizens

On 21 June, the Home Office published details of a Settlement Scheme for EU Citizens and their family members living in the UK. The Settlement Scheme will replace the current Treaty Rights of EU citizens that will cease to exist when the UK leaves the EU (note: the transitions phase is in place until the end of June 2021). To obtain their new UK immigration status they will need to demonstrate that they have been living continuously in the UK for five years to be granted settled status. EU citizens living in the UK for fewer years will be granted pre-settled status until the five year point is reached.

The application will essentially involve providing evidence under three categories: Identity - the applicant will need to prove their identity; Eligibility – the applicant will need to show that they live in the UK; and Suitability (Criminality) – the applicant will need to declare that they have no serious criminal convictions.

Following successful pilot schemes in 2018, a public test phase opened on 21 January 2019, with the Scheme fully opening in March 2019. The deadline for applications is 30 June 2021.

The Scheme has been designed to be user-friendly and to facilitate fast-track registrations; online applications and digital submission of the documentation will be possible. Reassurance has been given that the default position will be to grant rather than to refuse applications for settled status, and applications will only be rejected on particularly serious grounds.

Higher Education Sector Pilot: November - December 2019

All University staff were emailed details on 15 November 2018 of a UK Government pilot which applied to EU citizens and non-EU family members of EU citizens working in the higher education sector. By taking part, staff were able to make an early application for the new UK immigration status to continue to live and work in the UK after the end of the planned implementation period on 31 December 2020. 

Useful Information

The links below give more information on the implications of Brexit:

In providing this guidance the University is in no way advocating any particular course of action nor endorsing any external website. We are providing these resources as we understand that staff who may be affected by the future exit of the UK from the EU, want to have as much information and support in relation to all possible options. Independent immigration advice can be sought if you feel it is necessary.

University Contact Details

The email address has been set up in order to deal with queries related to the impact of Brexit on staff employed by the University. If you have a question or issue, please send it to our dedicated email address and a member of the HR team will get back to you by phone or by email.

If staff or students experience racism or harassment connected with Brexit, this should be reported and dealt with under the University’s Dignity and Respect Policy. All staff are encouraged to appropriately challenge inappropriate behaviours and raise concerns with managers so these can be dealt with.

EU Settlement Scheme pilot phases

What was phase 1 and what is phase 2?

The phase 2 pilot followed the smaller scale phase 1 project which some NHS Trusts and 3 universities in the North West of England participated in.  Phase 1 was used to test the experiences of applicants using the system to gain settled status, covering a total cohort of approx. 4,000 EU workers. During a 6-week period approximately 1,000 applications were made. The majority of these received an outcome during the trial period. 94% of those who completed the feedback form thought the process was straightforward. A report including the feedback on phase 1 can be viewed here.

Phase 2 opened from 15 November until 21 December 2018 to all EU workers or family members of an EU citizen employed or engaged in the higher education sector, including the University of Portsmouth, and aimed to test the online application system. Nearly 30,000 applications were submitted, with over 27,000 decisions being made by 14 January 2019 and no cases refused. Positive feedback on the speed and ease of the application process was recorded, a full report on phase 2 can be viewed here. All status granted during this pilot period will be deemed to be ‘good leave’ and will remain valid regardless of a deal or no deal Brexit.

Public Test Phase

Following the two private test phases a public test phase opened on 21 January 2019 for EU citizens and their non-EU family members who hold valid biometric EU passports or biometric residence card (for non EU family members).

This is a voluntary test phase designed to give further insight into how the system works and if any changes are needed before the scheme fully opens. This test phase requires applicants to prove their identity using the EU Exit: Identify Document Check app. There is no requirement to apply for settled status during the test phase, and if you choose not to, you and your family will still be able to apply for settled status when the scheme is rolled out fully by the end of March 2019.

There are two types of status you can apply for:

  • Settled status – for those who have been in the UK for 5 years or more (equivalent of indefinite leave to remain)
  • Pre-settled status – for those who have been in the UK for less than 5 years (equivalent of limited leave to remain)

The scheme will be opened fully in March 2019 and European Economic Area (EAA) citizens will have until 30 June 2021 to apply. From 1 July 2021 EU citizens without settled status will need to have UK immigration status. UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) may give decisions on late applications in exceptional circumstances, however, this should be avoided where possible.

What is the process?

Applying for settled and pre-settled status is a 3 step process:

  • Proof of identity – to check applicant is an EU national or family member of an EU national, this will be done mainly via passport or biometric residence permit (BRP).
  • Proof of residence – the application process will ask applicants to share their national insurance (NI) number so UKVI can access their Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) or Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HRMC) records to determine they have been resident in the UK and for how long.  If applicants do not provide their NI number they will be required to evidence via alternative documents (i.e. P60, payslips, mortgage statements which can be provided electronically by scanning/emailing)
  • Criminality check – this should not impact many and UKVI does not expect it to raise any issues they were not already aware of.

Fees and reimbursement

Application for settled status is free of charge. If you applied for settled status during the pilot phase and paid the fee you can apply for a refund. Once the government announces what applicants should do to obtain the refund this webpage will be updated.

For those whose application cannot be processed using digital means, paper applications will be accepted once the full scheme is launched next year.  UKVI estimates 3.5 million people will apply for settlement in total. The aim is to make the process as simple and easy as possible.

Public test phase - How do I apply

Only individuals with either a Biometric EU passport or a BRP will be able to apply during the current public test phase (if there is no chip in the passport or you have a visa vignette in a passport you will be unable to apply until the scheme roles out fully). The app is expected to be available on all devices but currently, identity verification is only available on Android (work is being undertaken with Apple to implement this before the wider March 2019 roll out), therefore applicants will need to have access to an Android device to apply at present.

To check if you are eligible to apply during the public test phase the Home Office have set out eligibility information, and the following Flowchart.

Frequently Asked Questions

The FAQs page gives further information for staff and their family members on the scheme including how to apply and who should apply. If the FAQs do not answer your query please email

What support will be available?

The EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre will be able to support and advise applicants on the process. They can be contacted by phone on 0300 123 7379 (inside the UK) or +44 (0) 203 080 0010 (outside the UK) or via an online submission form. Please note some calls to UKVI may incur a charge.

Our HR UKVI Compliance Adviser is happy to help staff complete the form if they need assistance. If you would like support with this process, please email Helen Ducane using the HR compliance mailbox who will arrange a suitable time to meet.

Media questions should be referred to the Home Office News desk on 020 7035 3535 or email