EU Referendum

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EU Referendum

This section provides all of the latest information for current students, applicants and staff on the developments regarding the post-referendum discussions.

Tuition fees for EU starting in academic years 2019/20 and 2020/21

The Scottish Government has confirmed free tuition in Scotland for eligible EU undergraduate students commencing their studies in 2019 and 2020. Students will be admitted as Scottish/EU fee status students and retain that status for the duration of their studies. EU students enrolling in 2019 and 2020 continue to remain eligible for tuition fee support from the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS).

Fees for eligible EU postgraduate students commencing their studies in 2019 and 2020 will remain at the same level as UK students.

For more information:

Scottish Government ministerial statement (April 2019)

Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) website

Previous GCU statements

UK Government updates

Scottish Government statements

Useful information and downloads

Information for undergraduate students

Latest information for current students from the EU

Current university students from the EU and those applying to courses starting in 2017–18 and 2018-19 in Scotland will not see any changes to their loan eligibility or fee status which you may currently receive from the Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS). This guarantee will apply for the full duration of the course, even if the course finishes after the UK has left the EU.

Please visit the SAAS website for more information:

Student Awards Agency Scotland (SAAS) website

For more information on fees, please visit our tuition fee section


Information for postgraduate taught students

The Scottish Government has now confirmed that there is no change in current funding arrangements for EU students commencing their studies in 2017 and 2018.

Postgraduate tuition fees 2017/18

Information for EU staff

EU Settlement SchemeFor now, there is no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU. Following the triggering of Article 50, a two-year deadline for completion of negotiations is underway.

The UK remains a member of the EU throughout this process, and until Article 50 negotiations have concluded.

Status and information of EU citizens in the UK is available from the UK Government. This source provides updates with the latest information about the status of European Union (EU) citizens, and their families, in the UK as the EU negotiations progress.

A policy paper published by the UK Government sets out the UK Government's position.

GCU recognises and values the contribution that all staff make to the continued success of the University, and is committed to informing and supporting its staff who are EU nationals during this transition period. Download a document outlining the University's specific commitments.


Latest UK Government communication in the event of No Deal

Latest communication sent by the UK Government in relation to UK's exit from the European Union and EU citizens rights:


The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union today set out information for EU citizens and their family members in the UK in the event of a no deal exit from the EU.

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.

Latest UK Government communication in the event of No Deal

The EU Settlement Scheme

The UK government has sought to address concerns regarding the continued rights of EU nationals to live and work in the UK after Brexit and their ability to access health services and other benefits.  A new EU Settlement Scheme (“the Scheme”) was introduced on 1 November 2018 on a phased basis: initially for employees in the public health and education sectors, but it should be fully operational when Brexit takes effect on 29 March 2019.  It aims to ensure that there are no changes to the current rights enjoyed by EU nationals until the end of the proposed implementation period on 31 December 2020.   EU nationals who have been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years by that date would be eligible to apply for “settled status”, which would be equivalent to indefinite leave to remain or ‘permanent residence’.  EU nationals with less than 5 years’ continuous residence would be able to apply for “pre-settled status” and would then be able to apply for “settled status” when they had reached the required 5 years.  The Scheme will also cover their close family members such as spouses/civil partners, durable partners, children and dependent parents/relatives, including those who are not EU nationals themselves.

The government has stated that its intention would be that the entire application process should be “straightforward” and “user friendly”.  Generally, applications should be made online, though consideration is being given as to whether a paper form should also be made available.  Essentially applicants will only be required to meet three sets of criteria:

• verifying their identity and nationality;
• establishing their residence in the UK; and
• establishing they are not a serious or persistent criminal or pose a security risk.

There will be a pragmatic approach taken in dealing with incomplete or invalid applications; these will not be rejected out of hand and applicants will be instead be contacted and given a reasonable opportunity to provide any missing information.  Applicants will not be required to meet the Knowledge of Language and Life in the UK requirements, which otherwise applies to applications for indefinite leave to remain, and would not have to demonstrate that they hold health insurance or pay the Immigrant Health Charge.  The fee will be £65 for applicants aged 16 or over, half that amount otherwise.  There will be no fee charged if the applicant already holds a valid permanent residence document or if where an applicant is granted pre-settled status and subsequently wishes to upgrade this.

The main requirement for eligibility under the Scheme will be in relation to establishing continuous residence in the UK.  The Scheme envisages using automated checks of data held by HM Revenue and Customs and the Department of Work and Pensions and suggests that in the majority of cases this should be sufficient.  In the event that the automated checks do not show continuous residence, it will be open to applicants to upload other documentary evidence to establish this.  The Statement of Intent provides details of the documents that the Home Office would accept, these include annual bank statements; P60s; letters from a UK employer confirming employment; letters from accredited UK organisations confirming attendance on courses; residential mortgage statements or tenancy agreements; council tax bills; UK addressed domestic bills; and letters from a UK-based GP or health professional.

The Scheme should be regarded as a positive step in the Brexit process and the pragmatic and simple approaches envisaged are to be commended.  However, there remain concerns and areas of doubt and the extent to which the Scheme is acceptable to the EU remains unclear.  The continued existence of the Scheme may well depend on the outcome of the UK government’s wider negotiations with the EU and whether or not a final withdrawal treaty is agreed.  That includes agreement on contentious issues such as the Northern Ireland’s border with the Republic of Ireland.  The Scheme also understandably focuses on EU nationals arriving before 31 December 2020, but makes no mention of the proposed position after that date. In particular, while the Scheme extends to the spouses and civil partners of EU nationals, notably this only applies where the marriage or civil partnership was formed by 31 December 2020 or, if later, where a “durable partnership” had been formed by that date. 

In the meantime, Anderson Strathern can assist individuals on the current rules for applying for a registration certificate, a permanent residence card or British citizenship and on the documentation that would need to be submitted in support of this.  We can also advise you in relation to any progress in relation to the proposals for “settled status” and the UK government’s negotiations with the EU.
If you require further information please contact:

Paul Brown
Partner, Employment
T: 0141 242 7959

Steven Dunn
Senior Associate, Employment
T: 0141 242 7954