EU Settlement, Leave to Remain and Citizenship.

All of the information provided below is general. Individuals will need to access relevant information for their situation. This information will at some point become out of date and it is your responsibility to know the changes and refer to the latest UKVI guidance. The HR Immigration team can provide information on requirements, guidance and common questions but cannot provide immigration advice or check visa applications. The HR team also has access to a UKVI Premium Account Manager who can help with questions on the policy guidance etc.

EU settlement

There is lots of info on the university website about this. Keep up to date as the conditions do change.

Here are the basics:

  • the application is online and you need a smart phone to apply,
  • it is free,
  • fast turn around (a few days to a week),
  • the deadline is Dec 2020 (no deal) or June 2021 (brexit with a deal), and
  • if you have a European passport and have had resided in the UK for at least five consecutive years you can apply for settled states or less than five consecutive years then you can apply for pre-settled status. When you apply you won’t be asked which one you are applying for, the status will be issued according to how long you have been living in the UK when you apply.

Useful links: UKVI webpage on EU settlement scheme and the university webpage on settled status. If there are any questions regarding the EU settlement scheme please email humanresources [at] exeter [dot] ac [dot] uk

Indefinite leave to remain (ILR) for Tier 2 visa holders

The university is able to give guidance but not advise on applying for Indefinite leave to remain. Here is the relevant university website. If you want advice then you will need lawyer or someone registered with The Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC).  The University can provide details of a Solicitor we refer to for complex immigration queries.

In short, after 5 consecutive years living in the UK you can apply for ILR which means you no longer need a visa to work in the UK. This is also the first step toward citizenship.

Some points to be aware of:

  • you need to have resided in the UK for 5 years at the time of application,
  • the start of the 5 years is the start of your first suitable visa (which visa’s are eligible needs to be considered for example a Tier 4 visa does not count),
  • you will need to list every time you left the UK for the 5 year period so start making notes as early as possible,
  • in any 1 year period you can’t have been out of the country for more than180 days,
  • you will need to sit a life in the UK test (not an English test but a culture test), and
  • you will need a letter from the university, bank statements, and payslips.

Timing:

  • the earliest you can apply is 28 days prior to the 5 years date,
  • the decision will take up to 6 month (during this period you cannot travel otherwise you may jeopardise your visa application), and
  • you can fast-track the process and have a decision within a few days (for a fee).

Costs per person (accurate at time of posting this blog) :

  • £2389,
  • biometic information £19.20,
  • life in the UK test £50, and
  • fast track process (optional) £800.

To find where you can sit the life in the UK test visit here (there is no expiry date for the test). Of the total costs listed, the university will reimburse (the main application only – ie not partner or children) up to £2300. But note that under the HMRC rules this will be taxable (so you won’t get the full £2300 reimbursed).

Everyone’s application is unique and complicated. So get as much information as you can.

Some useful links: the ILTR pages including guidance on how to calculate continuous residence, the universities Visa reimbursement scheme. To request a letter to support your ILTR application, email humanresources [at] exeter [dot] ac [dot] uk

Citizenship

After being on IRL for 1 year or with settled status for 1 year you can apply for citizenship. You need to consider if you can have duel passports or not; some countries do not permit dual nationality so you need to check and may need to choose between British or retaining own citizenship. Again the process takes up to six months and you will not be able to leave the UK during this time.

Cost:

  • £1330,
  • biometric information £19.20,
  • Life in the UK teat £50 (if your applying from a settled status),
  • £80 for the citizenship ceremony.

The university will not cover any of the fees associated with citizenship.

For more information see UKVI webpage on British Citizenship

Women in Gaia: from early career researchers to leading experts.

What is a career anyway?

In introducing themselves, some of our speakers observed that we should reflect on what we mean by career.

I never had a career, I had a life I was living“.

I am not interested in a career. A career is a story you tell after you have done it”.

This was a really necessary reality check to hear at the start of the discussion encouraging us to challenge our assumptions. Especially considering we ran a workshop in June on career options.

Our speakers introductions were open and honest reflections on their experiences. One of our speakers observed that participating in a physics undergraduate degree was an environment that increased their insecurity and self doubt: “I was worried I was not a good fit for the job I wanted to do“.

One of our speakers observed that even if you take a ‘traditional academic’ path on paper, it may not feel like a traditional path along the way. Reflecting that they were “following the traditional academic path but in my heart I was looking for ways out. I had strong mentoring and that helped me to find my way.”

How do family and academic commitments change with time?

At times the idea of family and academia are presented as incompatible. This is often said in the context of motherhood but it is important to include fathers in this discussion too. So in discussing family we should be talking about parents, not just mothers.

  1. It can be really hard to keep momentum going when you have a young family. This is a motivating factor for some to have children later in life. The challenge becomes how to keep projects moving and keep opportunities coming in.
  2. Don’t leave science after having children. Do acknowledge that it will slow you down when they are young and you will have less time to contribute to your science. But it is really important to acknowledge that as your children get older you will regain time and energy to focus on your science and other activities.

Some advice on this point: “The advice I was given was not to try to do/have everything all the time, because it is miserable. My approach is to enjoy my family now but to keep engaged in the science just enough to be able enjoy that too and so that I still have a career when my family is older and not so dependent on me.

It is absolutely okay to have a dip in publications. Over a long and varied career I expect it won’t make much difference. The science may take a back seat when you become a parent, but it isn’t forever, and all careers have phases and diversions. It is harmful to think that you have to sacrifice your science for babies. This just simply is not true.

Does the university institution favour men?

  1. It is not uncommon to feel the university system is not working to support you. The goal is to make it work for you. After you have found your way, universities can be amazing place to work.
  2. Think of the university as a vehicle to follow your research interests.
  3. Keep a list of people around you that are setting up flexible work arrangements. Then use this as evidence when you need to request changes to your work schedule to build in more flexibility.

Is the “boys club” still a problem?

  1. It is still common for women to be treated as though we are not good enough. Even though we clearly are!
  2. There are often situations where we need to take risks as scientists. This often suits men who more often task risks, make mistakes and in the process become more resilient to failure.
  3. The idea of the “boys club” has two parts: system issues and confident issues.
    • The system issues can include the delivery of education that is often better suited to “male thinking”. This can create intellectual dominance which does not promote diversity.
    • In terms of confidence, the goal is to reach a place within ourselves where we have a base level of confidence as an individual that is resilient to external forces. This unshaken confidence is the single biggest thing you can do for yourself.

The final point deserves highlighting: the solution for all genders is to have both emotional and gender equality.