Brexit update

Published: 29 August 2019

Brexit update from the University's Chief Operating Officer

Colleagues and students will be aware of the continued uncertainty over the UK’s relations with the European Union, following the 2016 referendum vote to withdraw from the EU.  The Government’s position is that the UK will leave the EU on 31 October 2019 whether or not an agreement has been reached before that date.  

Whatever the circumstances of the withdrawal there will be consequences for the University of Glasgow.  The Senior Management Group is committed to doing everything possible to protect the interests of our students, staff and the University as a whole and has issued regular bulletins as well as posting advice on the University website.  The following points should be noted:

Members of staff from other EU countries

We greatly value the contribution of members of staff from other EU countries, who make up 14% of our workforce.  Advice for EU nationals on residency and employment issues is available on the website at

In particular, EU nationals are invited to consider applying for ‘settled status’ under the EU settlement scheme - help and support is available for those who wish to do so.

EU Students

We are also proud that so many students from other European Union countries choose to study at the University of Glasgow. We welcome the Scottish Government’s confirmation that the fee status of EU students admitted to undergraduate programmes in Scotland in 2019 and 2020 will remain unchanged.

Tier 1 Visas

We welcomed the UK Government’s announcement earlier this month that the cap on Tier 1 ‘exceptional talent’ visas is being abolished.  We will share further information on this change of policy when it is available.

Finance & Procurement related issues 

Given the potential for disruption to international trade, plans are in place to pre-order essential materials.  However, it will obviously not be possible to pre-order perishable goods such as certain gases. Research teams are advised to conduct an inventory of materials they use and to consider the implications for equipment and activities in the event that supplies from EU countries are disrupted.

International Travel

There is the potential for some disruption to travel between the UK and EU countries.  Members of staff and students are reminded that, in the event of a no-deal withdrawal, EU countries may not admit individuals with passports which are due to expire within six months of the date of travel.  In addition, health insurance may be required for personal travel to other EU countries (members of staff travelling on University business will be covered by University insurance arrangements provided those travelling complete the relevant documentation in advance of their journey).


Members of staff are encouraged to continue applying for European research grants for as long as this opportunity is available to UK universities.  We will continue to lobby for the strongest possible involvement in EU research programmes post-withdrawal.  We can also rely on UKRI’s commitment to protect funding for successful bids and to introduce replacement schemes if the UK is excluded from EU programmes; we will share more information about these if they are introduced.

Student Mobility

There is little further information to share regarding either the UK’s involvement in Erasmus programmes.  In the event of a no-deal withdrawal on 31 October, all student exchanges that have started on or before that date will be guaranteed by the European Commission.  Furthermore, Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility (ICM) 2018 and 2019 projects will be guaranteed by the UK government in the event of a no-deal withdrawal.

Advice at this stage is that we should act as if the UK will continue to participate in all Erasmus initiatives; as with research, we will lobby hard as an individual institution and via the relevant national organisations to maintain our involvement in these programmes.  If in due course we are excluded from certain initiatives, we will utilise bilateral relationships to maximise collaboration and exchanges with partners in other European countries.

Links with European Partners

Finally, we are working hard to maintain and develop even closer links with partners institutions in other European countries - both through bilateral arrangements (such as those with Leuphana University in Germany and Radboud in the Netherlands) and through the Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities ( We will take every opportunity to strengthen those links, to maintain a high-profile in Europe and to emphasise that whatever the political outcome, the University of Glasgow will remain a committed member of the European academic community.


David Duncan

Chief Operating Officer & University Secretary

First published: 29 August 2019