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UK: EU settlement pilot includes HE staff

The British government has extended its pilot of the scheme it will use to register EU citizens after Brexit, to include all EU citizens working in HE, and their family members.

The extension means EU staff will be able to join the scheme sooner than others. Photo: Unsplash

EU staff and faculty will be eligible for 'settled status' if they have continuously lived in the UK for five years

The ‘EU Settlement Scheme’ will allow all EU-passport holding UK residents to gain the correct legal status when the UK officially leave the EU. They will have until December 2020 to apply.

“This will provide much needed clarity for our EU staff and for universities”

From November 15, staff of any UK HEI, or any overseas HEI in the UK (which is registered as a Tier 4 visa sponsor), will be able to start their application for ‘settled status’.

Later in the month, the pilot will be extended again to include health and social care workers.

Since the decision to exit the European Bloc was returned by the British voting public in 2016, there has been much confusion among education staff, as well as students. In 2017, a report noted “uncertainty as to the future status of EU staff has been damaging to morale” at UK HEIs.

But since then, EU student fees have been guaranteed to remain in line with home students’ fees until for the 2019 HE cohort, even if critics will highlight that it took the Scottish government to announcing an identical promise before London followed Edinburgh.

And all EU staff and faculty, a group nearly 50,000-strong, will be eligible for ‘settled status’ if they have continuously lived in the UK for five years by the end of 2020.

Alistair Jarvis, chief executive of Universities UKsaid the sector body celebrated the announcement.

“We welcome that [EU staff] will be able to obtain settled or pre-settled status as one of the earliest groups in the scheme. This will provide much needed clarity for our EU staff and for universities. It is vital for our economy and society that the UK retains and continues to attract the best and brightest from across Europe post-Brexit.”

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