Oxford University will pay the settlement fees for all members of staff and their families applying for settled status after Brexit.
The settled status pilot scheme, run by the Home Office, allows non-UK EU citizens who have been living in the UK for 5 years to apply for the right to continue to live, work and study in the UK after Brexit. The Home Office scheme would enable successful applicants to continue to have access to healthcare, schools and other public services, as well as pensions.
Those who have not been living in the UK for 5 years can apply for pre-settled status. Non-EU citizens who hold a Biometric Residence Card as the family of an EU citizen can also apply.
The Home Office decided to offer this pilot programme to all university staff. It is intending to open the scheme fully next year. After 29th March 2019, when the UK is scheduled to begin the process of leaving the European Union, the scheme will be extended to the families of non-UK EU residents as well.
Around 18% of the University’s staff are from EU countries.
University staff will be able to apply for settled status, allowing them to remain in the UK after the transition period, until 30th June 2021. However, in a no-deal scenario this deadline would be moved to the end of 2020.
The University said in a statement on their website: “Ever since the EU referendum result was announced; the University has been clear that European staff are greatly valued members of the Oxford community. It is committed to ensuring that all colleagues from the EU keep the rights and freedoms they currently enjoy.”
“The University’s Immigration team is on standby to provide further information and advice to colleagues wanting to apply to the scheme.” The £65 cost of a settled status visa will be reimbursed.
The University will also support staff who are applying for a Permanent Residence Card.
The announcement comes after Oxford University Hospitals Trust promised to cover the cost of its staff’s settled status applications earlier this month.