News archive - Brexit

This is the archive page for Brexit news. For up to date information, please visit the University's Brexit indepth page.

30 January 2019

MPs voted yesterday on several proposed amendments to Theresa May's Brexit agreement. The outcomes were:

  • Blackford amendment: to rule out no deal & extend Article 50 - rejected by 327 votes to 39
  • Brady amendment: Irish backstop to be replaced with "alternative arrangements to avoid a hard border" - passed by 317 votes to 301
  • Cooper amendment: to prevent a no-deal Brexit in March by giving MPs the power to request an extension to Article 50 - rejected by 321 votes to 298
  • Corbyn amendment: to rule out no deal & discuss options - rejected by 327 notes to 296
  • Grieve amendment: to allow 6 days for MPs to discuss alternatives to Mrs May's plan - rejected by 321 votes to 301
  • Reeves amendment: to ask the EU to postpone exit day - rejected by 322 votes to 290
  • Spelman amendment: to prevent a "no-deal" Brexit by adding to the PM's motion that Parliament "rejects the United Kingdom leaving the European Union without a Withdrawal Agreement and a Framework for the Future Relationship" - passed by 318 votes to 310

This article from Eversheds Sutherland discusses what the two approved amendments mean.

30 January 2019

An 'EU exit awareness' evening, hosted by The Central and Eastern European Network of British Embassies, the UK Home Office and UK Department for Exiting the EU, is taking place for nationals of Central and Eastern European countries in Leeds on Tuesday 12 February, 5.30-8pm, at Leeds City Museum. Book a place on Eventbrite.

22 January 2019

Following the failure of Mr Corbin's vote of no confidence in the UK Government, Theresa May yesterday announced that the EU settlement scheme fee (£65 for adults and £32.50 for children) would be scrapped.  Further information is yet to be announced, but we understand that:

  • applications made on or after 30 March 2019 will be free of charge, and
  • anyone "who has, or will, apply during the pilot phase" will have their fee reimbursed.

The University's reimbursement scheme remains open to employees pending further information from the Home Office.

16 January 2019

MPs last night took part in the so-called 'meaningful vote' on Theresa May's plan for the UK's exit from the EU, and voted to reject the deal by 230 votes - the largest defeat for a sitting government in history. As a consequence, Labour leader Jeremy Corbin tabled a vote of 'no confidence' in the UK Government, which is expected to be held this evening.

Whilst the next steps are not wholly clear, Mrs May has suggested cross party talks with other UK political parties to find a way forward, reiterating that it is still her plan to deliver Brexit.

16 January 2019

The Home Office has announced details of the next test phase of the EU Settlement Scheme:

From 21 January, the next pilot phase of the EU Settlement Scheme will go live.

Building on the testing already undertaken in the higher education sector, this phase will be open to all EU citizens living in the UK who have a valid biometric passport. It will also be open to non-EU family members who have a valid biometric residence card.

Applicants will be able to access the application form direct on GOV.UK (please note, this is currently closed and will only open once the next phase of testing begins).

By applying during this test phase, applicants will continue to provide valuable insight into how the system is performing so that further improvements can be made before the scheme is fully rolled out by 30 March 2019.

Who can apply

The next phase of testing means that students and family members are able to apply provided they have either a biometric passport or biometric residence card. EEA and Swiss nationals are not eligible to apply during the pilot but will be able to once the scheme is fully live by 30 March 2019. Irish citizens do not need to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme but they can if they want to.


For any questions about an application made during the pilot, contact the EU Settlement Scheme Resolution Centre by calling 0300 123 7379 (inside the UK) or +44 (0) 203 080 0010 (outside the UK). Find out about call charges at You can also ask a question using the online submissions form.

For more information about the EU Settlement Scheme visit GOV.UK.

20 December 2018

The UK Government has now reached agreement on citizens' rights with Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein (EEA EFTA countries) and Norway, and as a result the Home Office has published a Citizens' Rights Agreement for nationals of Switzerland, and a Separation Agreement in respect of EEA EFTA countries.

In a 'deal' situation, rights for nationals of Switzerland and EEA EFTA will remain as they are until the end of the implementation period (ie until 31 December 2020), though you'll be able to apply for pre-settled or settled status under the EU settlement scheme from 30 March 2019, after the UK exits the European Union. If the UK exits with 'no deal', the new arrangements will come into force on 30 March 2019.

You can read the Home Office announcement here

20 December 2018

If you've not yet applied for pre-settled or settled status as part of the pilot, but you'd like to, you can do so here without having to pre-register with the Home Office. Appointments to use our Android smartphone are still available today and tomorrow, and you'll then have until midnight tomorrow night to complete and submit your application. 

If you're not able to apply before Friday night, don't worry. The Home Office are running another voluntary pilot which starts on 21 January 2019 and will be open to members of the public who are EU nationals holding a biometric passport, as well as their non-EU family members holding a biometric residence card (note: if you're an EU national with an ID card but no biometric passport, you won't be able to apply until the scheme opens fully). You'll still have to be able to use the Home Office's "EU Exit: Identity Document Check" app, and appointments will be available to use our Android smart phone for this. Read the announcement here.

19 December 2018

The UK Government has issued a White Paper on the future of the immigration system in the UK. The new system will apply to all overseas nationals (except Irish nationals) entering the UK after 31 December 2020, and will be introduced in a phased process before the the end of this implementation period. After this date, EU nationals will no longer be able to enter the UK for work without a visa. 

EU nationals who are already resident in the UK, or enter before 31 December 2020, will continue to be subject to the EU settlement scheme.  Negotiations are ongoing to introduce similar arrangements for nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. 

Further details, as well as the full document and an executive summary, are available here

17 December 2018

If you're a University employee who's applied for settlement, you can reclaim the £65 fee via e-expenses, logging in with your normal username and password.

The details and conditions of the reimbursement scheme, and step by step guidance for completing a claim, are available in the Immigration Reimbursement Guidance document.

If anything's unclear, please speak to your manager or your HR hub.

6 December 2018

The Home Office has circulated an email to everyone registered for their update service:

The UK Government:

- Confirms that if there is no deal, the EU Settlement Scheme will continue to be implemented, enabling EU citizens and their family members living in the UK by 29 March 2019 to secure their status and continue to be able to work, study, and access benefits and services in the UK on the same basis after we exit the EU as they do now. The scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019 as planned.

- Confirms that the Home Office will continue to look to grant status rather than refuse and in line with the UK commitment to be more generous in certain respects than the draft Withdrawal Agreement, a person will not be refused status under the EU Settlement Scheme because, for example, they are not economically active or they do not hold comprehensive sickness insurance. 

There would be some changes to the EU Settlement Scheme if the UK leaves the EU without a deal, and further details are set out in the policy document.  In particular, as there will be no agreed implementation period, the application deadline will be brought forward to 31 December 2020.

You do not need to do anything for now. The EU Settlement Scheme will be fully open by 30 March 2019.

20 November 2018

Emma Brooksbank of Freeths Solicitors ran a briefing on the EU settlement scheme on 19 November, and you can download her slides below. The full video/audio will be available on For Staff shortly.

In response to a query at the update about whether "your own email address" means a personal or work account, Emma received the following response from the Home Office:

"It doesn’t matter which email address an applicant uses to apply under the pilot. I would recommend they use their personal email address in case they move on from their current job. Also, their immigration status is theirs personally and in no way attached to their employment. They should use the same email address all the way through the application."

16 November 2018

Guidance has been produced/updated for EU nationals, and non-EU family members of EU nationals, who intend to apply for settled status during phase 2 of the EU settlement scheme pilot:

  • the guidance document now includes links to the "EU Exit: ID Document Check" app, ID document scanner locations and information on administrative reviews.
  • information on how to use the app have been released.

31 October 2018

The Home Office has provided further information about the phase of the EU Settlement Scheme which opens to EU nationals working in Higher Education on 15 November 2018.  You can find out:

  1. who's eligible: EU nationals working in Higher Education - you'll need a valid, in-date passport and access to an Android smart phone which is capable of downloading the Home Office app.
  2. how they'll check your residence in the UK: if you provide your National Insurance number, the Home Office will access tax and benefits records, and you'll be able to upload other documents via the app if there are any times where you weren't employed or receiving benefits.
  3. how to prove your rights in the UK: until 31 December 2020, you can continue to use your passport/ID card.  Once you've applied for, and been granted, pre-settled or settled status, you'll be able to log into an online system where you can view and update your information. 

23 October 2018

The Home Office has released details of how you can provide evidence of your residence in the UK when you apply for pre-settled or settled status, if they can't get enough information from an automated check of UK tax and benefits records. 

11 October 2018

The Home Office announced a new phase of the EU Settlement Scheme which, from 15 November 2018, will allow EU nationals who are employed in higher education to apply for pre-settled or settled status. To be eligible, you'll need a valid passport and an Android device to be able to download and use the Home Office app.

Non-EU national members of your family who work in higher education can also apply if they have a Biometric Residence Permit.  If they're not employed in HE, they'll need to wait to apply (the scheme will be open to all eligible applicants by 30 March 2019).

Full details are available on the Home Office website

26 September 2018

In July 2017 the Home Office requested a report from the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on the current and likely future patterns of EEA migration. An interim update on this report was published in March 2018 and, on 18th September they published the 140 page final report.

Freeths Solicitors have produced two briefing notes on the contents of the final report, which you can download at the bottom of this page. 

28 August 2018

The Settled Status trial has begun in the North West of England and UKVI has issued guidance to its caseworkers for use during the trial period.  

20 July 2018

The UK Government has put a new process to Parliament, setting out stage 1 of the phased implementation of the proposed 'settled status' process for EU citizens under Appendix EU to the Immigration Rules. This pilot involves Higher Education Institutions and NHS Foundation Trusts in the North West of England and will take effect on 28 August 2018.

Further details of the phased implementation will be announced over the summer. 

21 June 2018

The Home Office has published an announcement and statement of intent which detail the settlement scheme for EU nationals.

The headlines are:

  • There will be 3 steps: proof of your identity, proof that you live in the UK, and declaration that you have no serious criminal convictions.
  • The cost is proposed to be £65 (£32.50 for a child under 16). If you already have valid permanent residence or indefinite leave to remain documentation, you'll be able to exchange it for settled status for free.
  • The Home Office will check the employment and benefit records held by government which will mean that, for many, your proof of residence will be automatic.
  • If you haven't yet lived in the UK for five years, you'll be granted pre-settled status and be able to apply for settled status once you reach the five-year point. From April 2019, this second application will be free of charge.
  • A new online application system will be accessible through phones, tablets, laptops and computers. The Government plan to provide support for the vulnerable and those without access to a computer.
  • The settlement scheme will open in a phased way from later this year and will be fully open by 30 March 2019. The deadline for applications will be 30 June 2021.

25 April 2018

The rights enjoyed by British and Irish citizens under the Common Travel Area are protected after the UK leaves the EU. This means that, if you're an Irish national, you won't need to apply for settled status in the UK to protect your entitlements in Ireland. The rights to work, study, and access social security and public services will be preserved on a reciprocal basis for UK and Irish nationals.  There'll be also be full protection and maintenance of the current arrangements for journeys between the UK and Ireland, including movement across the land border with Northern Ireland.

4 April 2018

Further policy announcements were made in early April. You can download Freeths' advice note below.

27 March 2018

Further details of the Withdrawal Agreement have been agreed at negotiator level, including the rights of EU citizens arriving into the UK during the transition period. Emma Brooksbank of Freeths Solicitors gives her view here.